In the wake of Jon Jones stating at Thursday’s UFC 152 pre-fight press conference that he had no idea the UFC would cancel UFC 151 if he didn’t fight Chael Sonnen on short notice, White has fired back, firmly claiming Jones “100 percent knew” the event would be canceled.
“He absolutely, positively 100 percent knew that (UFC 151) would be canceled,” White told Tim and Sid on The Fan 590 radio station in Toronto on Friday. “I told him that and so did his manager.”
As of Friday afternoon, nearly one month after the organization announced UFC 151 would not take place due to the lack of a main event, the UFC boss and the organization’s 205-pound champion still have no spoke. White told MMA journalist Ariel Helwani on the FUEL TV weigh-in show that he and Jones would speak for the first time moments after the interview took place. According to John Morgan of MMAJunkie.com, the meeting “went well”.
Whether White and Jones have truly settled their difference by now or not is unknown, but White was definitely unhappy with the 25-year-old champion’s allegedly false comments. When asked if what Jones said at the press conference makes him angry, White replied with a simple, straightforward answer.
“Yup, it does.”
“He absolutely knew that that card would be canceled if he didn’t fight.”
The UFC cancelling a formally announced event for the first time took a major toll on the company. Reports have surfaced that the organization lost 20-40 million dollars in the fallout of the Sept. 1 not taking place. Sponsorship money was lost, fighters missed out on a payday and a handful of other issues arose. However, White believes Jones didn’t think about all the issues when he made his decision not to fight.
“I honestly believe he never thought about that,” he said. “‘Oh what about everybody else on the card, what about all the networks that have invested in this thing and are expecting programming, what about this’. I mean, the collateral damage is huge and to be honest, you know to kind of about him, I didn’t even realize how much collateral damage – you don’t realize how many people are hurt and how many people are touched by cancelling an event like that.”
At the end of the day, there is nothing that can be done to change how the situation between White, Jones and the cancelation of UFC 151 played out. The cancellation of the event can be seen as a positive and a negative for the growing organization. If White and the UFC face a similar situation down the road, has the UFC president learned anything about how to better handle the situation?
“The lesson that was learned is that better not ever happen again,” White explained. “That’s the lesson that was learned…I can tell you this, I didn’t learn anything, what I learned is that better never happen again.”
“Twelve year we’ve been putting on events and when something bad has happened, we fix it. Every good run comes to an end; every good streak comes to an end. Ours did and I can tell you this, we better go another 12 years before this happens again.”