Has Jon Jones Supplanted Tito Ortiz as the UFC's Greatest Headache of All Time?
Jon Jones continued his magical run onto the S-List of most MMA fans today by posting this gem on his Twitter account:
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) September 1, 2012
There appears to be some sort of public relations education issue with Jones, but you already know that. For more on this tweet and how he has blamed Dan Henderson for the cancellation of UFC 151, you can head over to Jonathan Snowden's column that he posted earlier today which also includes Jeremy Botter's take.
I'm tired of all things related to Bones Jones. However, with UFC 152 still three weeks away, I thought I'd bring up one last thing that I feel could make or break the perception of the UFC as we move past this tumultuous year.
With every bit of news that comes from Jones, it makes me wonder if this is how it would have been should Tito Ortiz have had access to a Twitter account during his "Bad Boy" days. How great (or horrible) would it have been to see the tweets exchanged between Ortiz and Dana White about dodging a fight or other contract issues.
I've long been a fan of Ortiz, but there were times when I really couldn't stand the guy he was portraying in and around the Octagon. He was always about how much money he was going to earn, and he always thought he was greater than he really was. Even as his career ended with only winning one fight in his final six years with the UFC, Ortiz still thought of himself as a legend.
Ortiz built that foundation of a legend for being who he was in the late '90s and throughout the first decade of 2000. He was public enemy No. 1, and love him or hate him, he brought a reaction and a following. People tuned in regardless of how they felt about him. They either wanted to see him win or get his oversized head knocked into the crowd.
Jones didn't have an agenda to become a villain like Ortiz did, but a villain he has become. I feel Jones can do a lot of harm to the UFC as a brand if he doesn't snap back into the person we first saw enter the Octagon.
People who dislike the NBA do so because they can't stand the overpaid, selfish and egotistical athletes. Fans have been been drawn to other sports like MMA because there is a perceived notion that more athletes are performing out of passion rather than a dollar amount. Obviously, these fighters need to be paid, and we are approaching a very volatile time for the UFC as enter this new era. Perhaps, the "Jon Jones era."
The reason Jones is the UFC's biggest headache is simple. If other elite fighters see Jones can disrespect the organization and choose to reject potential fights, we then begin to lose a portion of why the UFC has become so successful.
Historically, for the most part, fighters (both prospects and champions) have fought whoever the UFC has set before them. Now that major companies such as Nike see the potential for revenue from endorsing somebody like Jones, we may start to see more popular fighters reject who the organization wants them to fight.
If this becomes a recurring theme, the UFC is going to think of the Tito Ortiz era as a cakewalk, compared to the inflated egos that may be fighting within the Octagon in the near future.
Can we, as fans, be bitter toward fighters if they don't want to fight the best for every single one of their fights? Should they be afforded the opportunity to have a few "cupcake" fights every now and then to build up their win total which would, perhaps, help them land a big-time sponsor?
We can all agree that the UFC does a great job, for the most part, with matching up the best with the best. We just don't know how much longer they're going to be able to make their fighters say yes more often than not.
If you've grown tired of the "Bones Jones" saga, well, you haven't seen anything yet.
Joe Chacon is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a staff writer for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.
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