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Dana White Fires Back at Jon Jones, Says What Champ Said Was False

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Dana White lashed back at Jon Jones after weigh-ins today in an interview with Ariel Helwani on Fuel TV, accusing Jones of not telling the truth when he said that he didn't know UFC 151 would be canceled if he pulled out of the show.

"I'm actually glad that he did say that," said White who didn't appear happy at Jones' remarks over the past few days in Toronto where he claimed that he forgives White, but that White owes him an apology for saying he was at fault for the cancellation of the show three weeks ago in Las Vegas. "I don't think he would have said that if I was there. So today we're going to be face-to-face and we'll see what he says and he doesn't say. The fact that he said he didn't know the show would be canceled is false. I did tell him the show would be canceled."

White said he was not at Thursday's press conference because the past two days he has been battling Meniere's Disease, an inner ear affliction he's had flare up a few times since contracting it months ago on a family vacation.

He said the disease came back on Wednesday, put him down, but said he's doing better today.

He also felt that Jones has never fully grasped the repercussions of the cancellation and that the two were scheduled to talk later in the afternoon. When Dan Henderson went down with a partial MCL tear, White presented Jones with a new challenger, Chael Sonnen, for a shot at his UFC light heavyweight title. Jones (16-1) turned down the fight claiming he didn't have enough time to train for Sonnen. White booked him to face Lyoto Machida, and then Machida turned down the fight claiming he didn't have enough time to train for it. Eventually Vitor Belfort (21-9) stepped up on Aug. 22 and took the short-notice main event even though he hadn't been training for a fight.

"I think he takes this thing, or is acting like he's taking it, lightly, which he shouldn't be," White continued. "The fact that the fight was canceled isn't a joke. It's not funny and a lot of people were affected by it. There was a lot of collateral damage that happened with the cancelling of the show. We'll see how this goes."

Jones was heavily booed at weigh-ins with loud chants of "Vitor" for Saturday night's title clash at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Jones has remained an 8-to-1 favorite, among the longest odds in the history of UFC championship matches. Jones acted humored by it, sticking his thumbs up and down based on crowd response.

"I think he needs to take it a little more serious than he is," said White. "I don't know if he's embarrassed. Obviously the fans have turned on him, but I think he needs to take this thing a little more serious than he did."

When asked if the Jones brand was damaged, based on the weigh-in crowd being so negative toward him, White really didn't answer past saying he hoped they could settle their issues today.

"I'll never get the `brand thing,'" he said. "That whole thing doesn't resonate with me. You're either a fighter or you're not. This is the fight business. People like people who step up and fight anybody, anywhere, any time. Jon Jones, to call Jon Jones not a fighter, he's fought all the best, right in a row. He has stepped up whenever we've needed him to do it, etc. etc. This whole thing has gone sideways here and hopefully we get this thing fixed in a few minutes."