With the whirlwind of anger being directed at Jon Jones following UFC 151 being deleted from existence, only one question comes to my mind: Was Jones told that his declining to fight Chael Sonnen would cost the fans and fellow fighters the entire 151 card?
It is a very important question to ask before you blame the light heavyweight champion for the loss of an entire event.
Selfish decision or not, Jones has the right to accept or decline a fight at anytime. He signed to fight Dan Henderson, and Henderson got hurt. That leaves him and his management free to listen to the UFC's plans and accept them or not.
Regardless of what Jones decides, the show must go on. It's as simple as that. Word came out on Friday per USA Today that Lyoto Machida was offered to step in, in a rematch that Jones reluctantly accepted. Then, Machida declined. Why no hate towards Lyoto? Lyoto should be chomping at the bit to avenge what happened to him last December—eight days or not.
These men are highly trained athletes who should be able to fight with little notice, and we have some of them declining left, right and center.
So now, it turns out it will be Jones vs. Vitor Belfort on September 22nd at UFC 152 in Toronto.
Instead of cancelling the 151 card card and leaving fans, other fighters and themselves furious, the UFC and president Dana White should have used their muscle to force two fighters to fill in and make this card happen.
There is talk that they did not want another low-value, low-revenue event to go down, and I say that is completely the wrong approach. Stand by your roster and to hell with all those "fans" and "media" who bitch and complain about quality of card and declining pay-per-view numbers.
The UFC is playing right into the hands of those complainers by cancelling an entire card and saying it is not worthy of going off. The show must go on. If UFC 149 in Calgary was not cancelled, then no card should be cancelled, and the UFC has now opened a vicious can of worms. The show must go on. Did I say that already?
Chris Weidman told MMAFighting.com that he offered to step in and fight Jones for his belt, and we all know that Chael Sonnen was an inch away from talking himself into a shot; and people are holding him up on a pedestal. Of course these two wanted to fight. It is a win-win for both of them to get a shot at Jones.
Why not settle them both down by saying, "OK boys, you both want to fight and Jones doesn't. You two are the UFC 151 main event. Go save the card." Sonnen vs Weidman. Would they be as eager to put it on the line against each other? I'm not so sure.
You can say chicken Jones all you want, but we all know that is not the case. Be as mad as you want at him for not wanting to fight Sonnen and all comers. Just don't blame Jones for the cancelling of UFC 151.
It wasn't his decision to scrap the entire thing. All he did was decline a fight on eight days notice. If you want to be mad at someone for cancelling the card, be mad at White for making a frustrated, emotional decision that certainly can't and won't be good for business.