The event was set to feature the light heavyweight title bout between Jon Jones and Dan Henderson.
On Wednesday, rumors began circulating about a possible injury suffered by Henderson that could put the bout in jeopardy.
In a media conference call on Thursday, White confirmed the bad news.
"So this is probably one of my all time lows. For the first time in 11 years, we're going to cancel an event. Dan Henderson has a partial tear in his MCL," said White, according to live updates from Bleacher Report's Matthew Roth.
The initial announcement wasn't the shocker.
Jones is arguably the most talented fighter in MMA history. Surely, no marquee name would step up and take him on with a week's notice, right?
"There's nothing we could do to save the fight. One of the things is we always say we could find a replacement. One guy said he would take the fight. That was Chael Sonnen. Chael accepted the fight. We started working. Created commercials and PR stuff. The one thing that happened that I didn't think would happen happened. Jon Jones turned down the fight. So right now, the fight is cancelled. Jon Jones vs Lyoto Machida, Saturday September 22nd in Toronto, Canada on UFC 152."
Who could've foreseen Jones turning down a fight, much less against a middleweight coming off a loss?
According to White, Jones' decision was greatly influenced by his head coach, Greg Jackson. It's common knowledge that White and Jackson have butted heads before. White has never been a big fan of the MMA guru's philosophy of fighting, which is typically construed as point fighting or fighting not to lose.
In light of Jones' decision, White was not a happy camper. He ripped into Jackson, even calling him a "sport killer."
"Jon Jones was given the options and told the consequences. He knows what happened. Machida was in the air when we were trying to make the fight. I can accept why Machida didn't take the fight. I understand that. Greg Jackson told Jones there's no way you take the Chael Sonnen fight on eight days notice. Said it would be the biggest mistake of his career. Greg Jackson is a f***ing sport killer. I've never heard anything like this in my entire life."
In MMA, you're only as good as your last fight.
Jackson is obviously trying to ensure Jones has enough time to prepare for whoever is standing across the cage from him. The Jackson camp tends to take a more cerebral approach with its fighters. They want to scout out the competition and game plan accordingly.
While Sonnen and Henderson have similarities, they aren't the same fighters.
Unfortunately, this entire situation puts the UFC in a bind. They have wasted money marketing and putting together an event that won't come to fruition. What about all the other fighters who trained and prepared to compete on September 1?
It's really an unfortunate situation for all parties involved.
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