Jones vs. Sonnen Fight Card: What the Casual Fan Learned

Matt JuulContributor IIIApril 28, 2013

Apr 27, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Jon Jones (right) prior to fighting Chael Sonnen (left) during UFC 159 at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday's UFC 159 turned out to be a peculiar night of fights for the world's largest MMA promotion. Between a plethora of questionable calls due to accidental eye pokes and the gruesome injury to light heavyweight champ Jon Jones' big toe, the event had its fair share of issues. Unfortunately, that meant the UFC's casual fans got a wide glimpse into the not-so-glamorous side of the fight game.

Like any sport, injuries are going to happen in MMA. That's life. However, unlike football, baseball or any other team sport, there's no one sitting on the bench waiting to fill in. 

While that's normally a non-issue, at Saturday night's event, the combination of fights stopped due to injuries and the number of "legitimate" finishes made the card go quickly—a major problem for the preliminary card broadcast. The fights went so fast on FX that the Sara McMann vs. Sheila Gaff bout was aired twice!

What's worse for the UFC was the injury sustained to Jones' toe.

The promotion pretty much put this bout together to market it toward casual fans and bring in some eyeballs with The Ultimate Fighter coaching jobs and Sonnen's penchant for trash talking.

Short-term, even I was on board with this fight because I don't mind seeing fun fights—and neither do casual fans. However, looking back on it, the fact that Jones will now be out for some time due to an injury sustained in a fight we all knew he would win, it now seems sort of silly that this fight happened at all.

Sonnen was clearly not the No. 1 contender, as he was moving up a full weight class. And now the champ will be forced to wait on the sidelines because of a freak accident that occurred in a fight he never wanted in the first place.

The UFC might even be losing Sonnen completely (as a fighter, that is) if he chooses the broadcast booth over the Octagon.

What the UFC and fight fans can take away from this is that, sometimes, it's not worth having a champ take on a challenger just because the fight looks fun.


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