I know that I don't write about UFC all that often, and when I do, I don't exactly get a lot of feedback on the subject, but there are times when a subject just jumps out at me and forces me to write about it. This is one of those times.
Before I begin, though, let me go through the backstory that led me to this column..
1. UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon "Bones" Jones, was scheduled to defend the title against Dan "Hendo" Henderson at the UFC 151 pay-per-view on September 1st.
2. Henderson suffered a ruptured MCL during training, and he was forced to withdraw from the fight.
3. Because Henderson's injury happened so close to the event, the company was forced to scramble for a new opponent for Jones on very short notice.
4. Chael Sonnen stepped up and volunteered to fight Jones on short notice, agreeing to move up from Middleweight do to do.
5. Jones declined the fight, saying that it didn't make sense to take another fight on such short notice.
6. UFC President Dana White decided to cancel UFC 151 outright, after not being able to find a replacement main event.
7. In a conference call with the media, White ripped into Jones and Jones' trainer, Greg Jackson. He referred to Jackson as a "fucking weirdo" and a "fucking sport killer". White then went on to sarcastically praise Jones for the amount of money he has, before pointing out that UFC 151 being cancelled means the undercard fighters.. guys who don't have Jon Jones money.. now lose an opportunity to feed their families by missing this pay day. Many, many, many MMA fans and writers all over the internet expressed similar thoughts and opinions on the matter.
8. Word would eventually come out that Jones would instead defend the Light Heavyweight Title against Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida at UFC 152 on September 22nd. Yes, UFC 152, even though there is no UFC 151, which makes me think Dana White will be like me and just randomly skip a number anytime he has to say it in the future.
9. Before anyone could even get used to Jones VS Machida, we found out that Machida declined the fight, saying that he couldn't accept the fight on such short notice.
10. Finally, the official word was that Jones would instead defend his title against Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort at 151 instead. People, of course, half-expected that fight to be called off, but it seems like it's what will be taking place.
Alright. Is everyone caught up now? We had a fight, then we didn't have a fight, then we had a fight, then we didn't have a fight, then we had a fight, then we didn't have a fight, and now it looks like we have a fight again. All of this, by the way, took place yesterday. Quite the busy day, as you can see.
Right off the bat, let me just say this..
If Dana White didn't have the emotional maturity of a 12-year-old girl, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. For years, White has made a name for himself by lashing out at critics and always going over-the-top with profanity-laced tirades. As you can see from the brief mention I made of it earlier, White absolutely, positively loves the word "fuck" and sprinkles it heavily into everything he says. The reason I say we wouldn't be having this conversation if White was more emotionally stable is simple..
Did Jon Jones cancel UFC 151? No, Dana White and UFC did. Yes, Henderson being injured and Jones refusing to fight Sonnen on such short notice removed the card's main event, but why not just bump up one of the other fights to the main event?
Oh, that's right. The rest of the card was all-time poor. Jake Ellenberger VS Jay Hieron was as close to a "co-main event" as the card had, and forgive me if I'm not tripping over my own feet to throw money at UFC to watch that on pay-per-view.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but whose fault is it that UFC 151 was a one-fight card, with the rest of the fights being absolutely terrible in the eyes of everyone except for MMA fanatics? Was it the fault of Jon Jones, or was it the fault of.. Dana White and UFC? Hmm.. that's right.. I think the blame goes to White and UFC here. All that talk about taking money away from the undercard fighters? Dana White should personally apologize to each and every one of them, and if he's so concerned about their families, he should give all of the fighters their UFC 151 pay checks, anyway. Think of it as an "early Christmas bonus".
All I read from people yesterday was how Jon Jones was every name in the book for not accepting a fight on such short notice. Why in the red hell should be expected to take a fight on short notice? He's the Light Heavyweight Champion, currently in the middle of building a legacy, with early talks of him already being one of the greatest fighters in MMA history. Haphazardly accepting a fight after spending months training to fight someone else, and then only having three days to train for the new fight, puts everything that he's worked so hard to achieve on the line, and for no real reason. I'll be the first to admit that it's a selfish thing to do. That's fine. I get that. I'm just saying I don't blame him for doing it, in his position. His entire aura comes crumbling down if he loses to Chael Sonnen, even on short notice. I would have turned the fight down if I were in his shoes.
If putting together a new main event fight on such short notice is as easy, breezy, beautiful Cover Girl as all of these TapouT and Affliction-wearing douchebags say it is, then.. I don't know.. shouldn't it have been simple for Dana White to find some new people to make a main event for the show? It reminds me of a line that Jay-Z once said..
"I heard muh'fuckas say they made Hov.. made Hov say 'okay, so, make another Hov'.."
If it's that easy to do it, go ahead and do it. These people are trying to have it both ways. They deride Jones for not accepting the fight, saying that it's simple and it's what a real fighter is "supposed to do", but when Dana White says he couldn't put together a suitable replacement, they all understand completely. What happened to it being "simple" and "what a real fighter is supposed to do"? If that's the case, White should have been able to go to any two fighters not already on the UFC 151 card, pointed at them, said "you and you", and the fight would have been on and popping. Oh, but it's Jon Jones' fault. That's right. I forgot.
I forgot to mention something earlier. After he found out about the situation with Jones and Henderson, UFC Middleweight Champion and the #FadeGod himself, Anderson "Spider" Silva, volunteered to face a Light Heavyweight in the UFC 151 main event. That would have made up for the fact that Jones was no longer on the card, and would have been more than a suitable replacement. Why didn't Silva get the main event gig, though? Because White had already thrown his temper tantrum and decided to cancel the entire event. Better luck next time, #FadeGod.
So, let's go back to #9 on the list from earlier. Lyoto Machida.. turned a fight down.. because he didn't think it gave him enough time to prepare. In case I didn't run that by you slowly enough, let me do it again. Lyoto Machida.. turned a fight down.. because he didn't think it gave him enough time to prepare. For those of you who don't follow MMA, go ahead and ask me where all of the hatred and vitriol for Machida was from the same people that had their panties in a twist over Jon Jones doing the exact same thing? Go ahead. I'll wait.
It wasn't there. It didn't exist. It's as if Machida was getting a free pass. A free pass from fans. A free pass from Dana White. What sense is that supposed to make? Making Machida's move even worse is the fact that he passed up a title shot, and now goes from next-in-line for a shot at the Light Heavyweight Title to having to face someone else down the road to become next-in-line. Jones refuses a fight, and he gets a new one three weeks later. Machida refuses a fight, and his career literally moves backwards. What if he loses his next fight? He might never see another title shot again, and whose fault will it be?
Jon Jones, of course. It's his fault for everything!
Some of you reading this are simply confused because you don't watch MMA, which means you don't know anything about the MMA fan base. For those people, allow me to present a video to you. Watch the entire thing, and then come back to the column, but if you're wearing headphones, you might want to turn the video down, as there is a lot of yelling in the video..
Did you watch the entire thing? Now, you might not have caught something that guy said through all of the roid rage and the marble-mouthed yelling, but he echoed a point I saw numerous times yesterday. To go over that point, again for those of you that don't follow MMA, let's break it down again..
1. On May 19th, Jon Jones was arrested for DUI after crashing his car into a pole in New York.
2. While there were some fans that were upset, some of them even declaring they could no longer support Jones, 97 out of 100 people that you saw talking about it online chalked it up to Jones being young (he wasn't even 25 at the time of the arrest), saying that he'd have time to mature and put those dumb decisions behind him.
3. After finding out that he wouldn't accept a replacement fight on short notice, though, most of those same people completely turned their backs on Jones, saying that he was a "selfish asshole", a "worthless faggot that was ruining MMA", a "piece of shit that should die in his next DUI accident" and a "fucking dumb coon". Those are all exact quotes that I saw around the internet about the guy.
How backwards is that? You'll let a DUI slide because he's "young and dumb", but when he doesn't want to fight, it's the end of the world and he's ever derogatory name in the book? This, MMA fans, is why you can't have nice things. It's also why the rest of the world looks down their noses at you. It's also why wrestling fans across the world should thank you, because they look like Rhodes Scholars compared to you.
Anyway.. damn.. where was I? My thoughts are all over the place here. Must be Jon Jones' fault.
Ah, yes.. Jones being "afraid" of Chael Sonnen. I'm still seeing people say that, but I'm not following the logic there. Dan Henderson is ten times the threat to Jones' title as Sonnen is, and Jones had no issue fighting Henderson. Why would he then duck Sonnen? People say that Jones doesn't like to get hit (which, in and of itself, is a dumb saying because you're not supposed to enjoy getting hit), and that Henderson, who possesses one of the best right hands in the history of MMA, is a threat to knock any opponent out at any time. If I didn't enjoy being hit, the last person I'd want to be in the Octagon with is Dan Fucking Henderson, but it's Chael Sonnen that makes Jon Jones piss himself a little bit when he thinks about fighting him? Oh.
There's hate, and then there's blind hate. Yesterday and today, Jon Jones is receiving a lot of the latter. MMA fans from all over the globe are acting as if Jones got their sister pregnant and then refused to financially support them after he left her and the baby out in the cold. Typical MMA meathead bullshit, with the same mentality as MMA meathead Dana White.. overemotional, making snap judgements and looking for other people to blame for everything.
All of this.. all of this.. could have been prevented if Dana White could ever keep his emotions in check, and if he just learned to shut the fuck up for once. He had time to find some sort of a replacement main event for UFC 151, but he didn't. If he spent half as much time looking for a fight as he does making angry rants directed at various people, every single UFC card would be stacked from top to bottom. While we're on the subject of UFC cards, though..
There are too many these days. Upon looking it up, there are 31 UFC events (pay-per-view, plus full cards on Fox, Fuel or FX) in the 2012 calendar year. Think about that, wrestling fans. Think about how many of you complain because 12 pay-per-views a year is way too many. Now imagine if, on top of those 12 pay-per-views, WWE or TNA gave us 19 extra cards during the year. Not episodes of Raw or Smackdown, but actual special cards, like Clash Of The Champions or Saturday Night's Main Event used to be. Now, imagine if, because there were so many cards and injuries that come with the sport, some of those events were main evented by, say, Santino VS Drew McIntyre or Hernandez VS Robbie E. Are you throwing up in your mouth yet? I wouldn't blame you. In an effort to get as much money as possible, UFC has diluted their product to a ridiculous level. Less shows means each show you run means that much more. Less shows means each show you run has the potential to be bigger and better. There's no reason whatsoever for UFC to have 352 fighters under contract. Trim the fat on the roster, cut the bullshit, and make every event mean something. Jake Ellenberger VS Jay Hieron? Dennis Siver VS Eddie Yagin? Dennis Hallman VS Thiago Tavares? John Lineker VS Yasuhiro Urushitani? That isn't a pay-per-view quality card, ladies and gentlemen. That's not even a card that most people would tune in to watch on free television. Dana White, Joe Silva (UFC Matchmaker) and Frank & Lorenzo Fertitta (owners of UFC's parent company, Zuffa) should all be doing media conference calls where they blast themselves for how poor that card shaped up.
1. I know that Jon Jones made a "selfish" decision, but it was also the smart business decision to make for him, and the Jon Jones "brand". However, where is the public outrage over Lyoto Machida pulling the exact same stunt as Jones, only worse, because it now negatively affects his own career?
2. Most hardcore MMA fans are the lowest common denominator. Axe-body-spray-wearing, too-much-hair-gel-using, TapouT-or-Affliction-shirt-rocking asshats who think that they're all Jiu-Jitsu black belts because they watch the sport, bro.
3. UFC and especially Dana White are to blame for this, not Jon Jones. They made the decisions to dilute their product to the extent that it is today. They made the decisions to cancel a show when they could have found a replacement fight, or at least moved the card from pay-per-view to free television. You know, to feed those starving families that are all now going to be completely homeless and having to fight on camera for change because of the event that was cancelled. Don't try to say you don't have the money, either, UFC. All my life, I've seen commercials on television tell me that I can feed an entire family for just pennies a day, so if I can do it, you certainly can, too.
4. I spent far too long working on a column that most people probably didn't even read. 75% of the people that started reading this column didn't even make it to this point, I'm guessing. I could say anything I wanted to here, and it wouldn't matter. I once open-mouth kissed a horse.
5. Jon Jones remains the second-best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet today, with a strong case that can be made for him being the best, and will continue to be, even as more and more people pile on and throw unnecessary barbs in his direction. He doesn't seem to be bothered by the hate at all. In fact, it seems to fuel him a bit. Right now, those in the anti-Jones camp are definitely not doing Vitor Belfort any favors.