As a result of Dan Henderson partially tearing the ACL in his knee and being forced out of the UFC 151 main event against Jon Jones on Sept. 1, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has canceled a formally announced event for the first time in the history of the organization.
In a media conference call on Thursday, UFC president Dana White stated the 11-bout UFC 151 fight card scheduled for nine days from now at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas will no longer take place.
“This is probably one of my all-time lows as being president of UFC,” White said in a press release from the organization. “Dan Henderson tried to train, he continued to work out and saw a doctor, but there was nothing we could do to save that fight.”
White said the UFC tried to salvage the event by replacing Henderson with former middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen, but Jones turned the fight down and according to the UFC president “refused” to fight Sonnen.
“Chael Sonnen stepped up accepted the fight with Jon Jones last night. As of 8pm last night, we thought we had a fight fans would love to see. Then at about 9pm the one thing I never thought would happen in a million years happened. Jon Jones said, “I won’t fight Chael Sonnen on eight days notice’. That has never happened in the history of the UFC, a guy who is a champion, and a guy who is supposed to be one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound, refuses to fight.
“When you are a champion, much less one of the guys who is supposed to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, you are supposed to step up. Jon Jones is a guy a lot of fans don’t like, and I don’t think this is going to make him any more popular. Lorenzo Fertitta and I are disgusted with Jon Jones”
Although Jones will not be fighting Henderson or Sonnen on Sept. 1, White did announce the light heavyweight champion will see action inside the cage very soon as he will rematch Lyoto Machida at UFC 152 on Sept. 22 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The UFC boss made it very clear how displeased he is with Jones’ decision not to fight on Sept. 1, stating the champion’s coach Greg Jackson encouraged him not to fight Sonnen.
For the fans who bought tickets for UFC 151, ticket refunds are available at the point of purchase. One party who won’t get refunds for their money are the 18 fighters on the undercard of the event who have spent money on training camps, travel accomidations for family, etc. and lose out on a paycheck.
“One thing that you really have to think about are the fighters on the undercard. Sure, Jon Jones is rich what does he care if he cancels the fight? But 20 other fighters on the card added up to almost a half a million dollars in purse money that Jones and Greg Jackson’s decision stole from them.” White said. “No champion or headliner in UFC history has ever done that.”
White said his relationship with Jones has taken a turn for the worse after the way the entire situation played. The UFC has pegged Jones as the bad guy and has pinned the blame of the entire card being canceled on the back of the “selfish” 24-year-old.
“Many people, from fans to PPV distributors, TV networks, sponsors, and more importantly fighters who are working hard to support their families and build their careers are hurt badly by this selfish decision.”
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