We reported earlier that Dan Henderson had to pull out of his scheduled title fight against Jon Jones at UFC 151 due to a knee injury. We now know that Jon Jones will now face Lyoto Machida on September 22nd. Jones was offered a fight against Chael Sonnen to try to save the UFC 151 card, but Jones and his camp declined the fight. Dan Henderson gave his thoughts on the champion declining the fight:
“This is the first time that the champion wouldn’t step up and fight, and I was pretty shocked to hear that. It’s not like he’s injured. It’s unbelievable to me that he wouldn’t take that ‘the show must go on’ attitude. If there was any way I could have gone, and any way that I thought I could give myself a chance to compete, I would have done that.”
Fighters have fought on extremely short notice before in the UFC, and even Jones himself fought on short notice when he challenged Shogun Rua for the title at UFC 128. Granted, six weeks is an entirely different ballgame when compared to eight days. Jones was ripped by UFC President Dana White and fellow UFC fighters for not taking the fight with Sonnen. However, more importantly, Jones was ripped by the majority of fans for his unwillingness to fight Sonnen.
It’ll be interesting to see how this news effects the PPV drawing power of Jon Jones. The PPV’s he has headlined have done modest numbers, but he isn’t a superstar like a Georges St. Pierre. I hate to go all pro-wrestling, but Jones could turn all of this negativity into a positive if he would simply embrace the negativity like a brash Tito Ortiz in his prime. It doesn’t matter if you tune in to see him win or lose, but the main thing is that you are tuning in. Do you blame Jon Jones for not taking the fight with Sonnen?
Stay tuned for more UFC 151 fallout coverage and fight announcements.