One of the more curious sub-plots to arise from the UFC 151 debacle was the unique way our sport's community seems to channel its outrage. Namely, how selective the hatred was for fighters turning down last second fights.
My colleague Mike Chiappetta described it perfectly. What it essentially boiled down to was, Jon Jones said no to a short-notice Chael Sonnen, and Jones promptly got tarred and feathered in the court of public opinion. Meanwhile, both Lyoto Machida and 'Shogun' Rua -- two guys Jones has already destroyed -- said no to a short-notice rematch, and it was no big deal.
It's a interesting dichotomy, and if we're being honest, at least the slightest portion of the outrage arose out of favoritism. Machida and ‘Shogun,' especially, are beloved, so their decisions are bred out of logic, while Jones has has never rubbed people the right way, so all this frustration is easier to stack on his plate. Of course, that's not to say Jones is without fault for his decision, but the severity of the venom has just been a little staggering.
Anyway, in the aftermath of UFC 151's cancellation, Machida wasted no time getting a public statement out there on why he elected to reject the Jones fight. Now, a few days later, ‘Shogun' has done the same.
In an interview with Brazilian outlet Tatame, Rua's manager Julio Heller revealed the reasons for their decision. Not surprisingly, it falls right in line with Machida's sentiments.
"We were in Sao Paulo and my phone rang about midnight. It was Lorenzo (Fertitta). Lorenzo was on another call, so I talked to him like half hour later. He offered me a rematch against Jon Jones because Lyoto had declined it and asked me to give him an answer in ten minutes. I hung up and Mauricio was there with me. We talked and called Dida in Curitiba and we got to a conclusion we should accept the rematch, but only if Shogun had a couple of months to train and it would mean a fight later in October or in November. I said that to Lorenzo but he said there was no time because Jon Jones's fight is on September 22nd. Unfortunately, he couldn't give us this time but he understood.
Mauricio accepted at the time the new fight against Jon Jones. The ideal is a three-month camp but he said yes to a two-month camp fight. He wants to fight Jon Jones and it sucks it won't happen now. But Mauricio's shot will come."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Shogun's camp releases statement. Julio Heller, manager of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, released a statement to Brazilian news outlet Tatame describing their involvement in the cancellation of UFC 151 and Rua's decision to not fill in for Dan Henderson.
Henderson hopes for 2012 return. Former Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson denied rumors that Chael Sonnen was aware of his injured knee. In addition, Henderson anticipates a return to 100-percent health within 3-4 months and said he'd like to fight at UFC 155.
The MMA hour. Ariel Helwani is back with another star-studded edition of The MMA Hour featuring Dan Henderson, Greg Jackson, Vitor Belfort, Alan Belcher, Anthony Johnson, Miguel Torres, and our own Mike Chiappetta.
Sonnen still thinks he'll fight at UFC 152. In an extended interview with ESPN Radio in Los Angeles, Chael Sonnen discussed why Dana White turned to him as UFC 151 was crumbling, why he thinks Jon Jones rejected their fight, and why it doesn't matter anyway.
PHOTO: Shamrock beats up woman, says he thought it was a man. Reports that Ken Shamrock accidentally assaulted a "heavyset woman" last week under the guise that she was a man appear to be incorrect, as the alleged woman in question has been revealed to be 120-pound Melinda Garcia. Garcia plans to file a lawsuit if Modesto police refuse to press charges.
I swear, Tito Ortiz is slowly, inadvertently becoming the best part of these UFC Legend Roundtables. He'll get his point heard in the final 15 seconds whether you like it or not, Mr. Couture.
Our hearts go out to Wanderlei Silva and his loved ones. Silva's father tragically passed away in a car accident over the weekend, and just days before, Wanderlei released this heart-rending dedication to his family.
Deadmau5 and Gerard Way have teamed up to create the most expensive EDM music video ever made, and wouldn't you know it, the UFC got itself involved. The official video is set to be released tomorrow morning, but here's yesterday's teaser trailer, plus behind-the-scenes footage if you're interested.
(Props to Nick Susi)
Bjork + Women's MMA = One hell of a highlight reel.
BACK ON THE HORSE
I finally have a fight!...I'll be fighting Takanori Gomi in Macau, China on November 10th...— Mac Danzig (@macdanzigmma) August 27, 2012
Cant reply all but Thank u guys so much for the congrats & comments. Signing that contract was a beautiful thing after last couple years. ;)— Mike Quick Swick (@officialswick) August 27, 2012
THIRD TIME'S THE CHARM
AND SO IT'S COME TO THIS...
Jon Jones stopped following Dana White on Twitter. Ouch.— MiddleEasy (@MiddleEasy) August 27, 2012
Announced yesterday (Monday, August 27, 2012):
- UFC on FUEL 6: Mac Danzig (21-9-1) vs. Takanori Gomi (33-8)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees jackbox1971 try to simplify the past week: Bone Storm: Ethics and the Public Shaming of Jon Jones
There has been a lot said and written on the topic of Jones' decision and the cancellation of UFC 151. While verbose meanderings are easy to come by, I myself would greatly appreciate a straightforward breakdown of the ethical issues involved here (followed by a mild Marxist spin). Here is my attempt:
- Jon Jones is under no ethical, moral, legal, or financial obligation to accept a fight with an opponent he is not contracted to meet.
- Jones' wiliness to accept a new fight would obviously reap benefits for him personally in terms of good will (at least in some quarters). Such actions would be a kind of "ethical multiplier," an above-and-beyond gesture. But Jones' ethical responsibility for helping to salvage the main event diminishes exponentially as the event itself approaches. Therefore, Jones can reasonably be expected to accept a substitute fight anywhere from twelve to four weeks out from the event. Beyond that point, it is not reasonable to expect a fighter to accept a new opponent on short notice. In this case, eight days. (Or, as Greg Jackson has rightly pointed out, more like three days if you take travel time and promotion into account.)
- Jones is not in a position to cancel a UFC event. He is a fighter. Only Zuffa, with Dana White as its president can make that executive decision. Jon Jones did not make this choice for White. White felt compelled by Jones' decision to move forward with cancellation, but Jones himself is not the trigger man here.
- White is not in an ethically advantageous position to take the high ground with Jones. If the concern was for the fighters and their pay, White could have agreed to run with UFC 151, taken the loss, and paid his fighters. Because he decided to make a pragmatic business decision, rather than an ethical choice he is not entitled to deride Jones. (Ultimately, the UFC has found fight cards in the next two months for the majority of the fights on the card. Thus, financial losses for the fighters will be moderated. Therefore, any criticism from Jones critics predicated on sympathy for fighter's losing their pay is rendered moot. Presumably, the worst one could say regarding Jones' decision is that it resulted in the promotion and travelers being inconvenienced. Neither outcome, however, was necessitated by Jones' actions.)
- Jones is not responsible for matchmaking and organizing fight cards. He is a fighter. Joe Silva and others make decisions regarding who fights on a given card. Cancellation of UFC 151 resulted from the belief that the card without Jones/Henderson would not be profitable. White and company made that estimation. Therefore, the matchmaking wasn't strong enough to withstand the loss of a main event. The blame for this cannot be placed with Jones.
- While Jones is not obligated to take any un-contracted fight, taking the Chael Sonnen match could be seen as unethical. Sonnen has not trained, he is coming off a bad loss in June, and he does not fight at light heavyweight. Sonnen would be woefully underprepared and overmatched against a trained and primed Jones, a fighter many experts consider among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. It is a distinct possibility that Sonnen could be seriously injured if the fight were made.
- Dan Henderson made choices during his training which led to his injury, which in turn led to his being pulled from the main event at UFC 151, and, ultimately, to its cancellation. A degree of responsibility lies with Henderson. He himself has stated that he has never missed a fight for reasons of injury. If this is true, then it stands to reason that he was careless during this season of training. In general, fans, promoters, and pundits are unwilling to criticize a fighter for a training-related injury. However, it is ethically viable to apportion responsibility with Henderson. At present, the lion's share of blame has been placed exclusively on Jones' shoulders.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.