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Jon Jones: “I feel terrible, but it also wasn’t my decision to cancel the whole card. I don’t make those decisions.”

In the immediate wake created by yesterday’s UFC 151 debacle UFC President Dana White blasted Jon Jones and coach Greg Jackson in a conference call, Dan Henderson ensured fans he would be back after recovering from his knee injury, Chael Sonnen called “Bones” a plethora of names, fighters scheduled for the event complained openly, and countless fans cried out in disappointment. However, one of the key players in the agitating affair remained silent on the matter – Jones himself.

The polarizing pugilist has since spoken up to explain his side of the situation, expressing no remorse for declining what would have been a show-saving scrap with Sonnen while offering an apology to the promotional peers and fans affected by the card’s cancellation.

“I signed a contract a long time ago to fight Dan Henderson. That’s what I studied for, and that’s what I prepared myself for. To take a fight with a different opponent in which I would basically have three days of training before traveling and then starting to cut weight I just thought would be the dumbest idea ever. I wouldn’t have been properly prepared,” said Jones in an interview with MMAJunkie. “Chael is completely different fighter. This is war. This is strategy. You have to go in there prepared and know that you did your homework. I wouldn’t be the same warrior if I just jumped in there blindly and was cutting weight while I was trying to prepare for the fight.”

“I definitely apologize to the other fighters on the card. I feel terrible, but it also wasn’t my decision to cancel the whole card. I don’t make those decisions,” he continued. “I apologize to the people that lost money on tickets and travel and things like that. I don’t apologize for my decision, but I do apologize for the way it affected people. I hope people can understand I was just trying to do the best thing for my career.”

Jones also admitted the angry response regarding his role hasn’t fallen on deaf ears, though he remained comfortable in doing what he felt was the right thing for the people he cares about most.

“The criticism does bother me, but I have to stand by my decision. I have to be the man that I am,” Jones explained. “With such large audiences comes great criticism. There will be a lot of scrutiny, but I’ve got to do what makes me happy and feels right to me. At the end of the day, I have to make the best choice for me and my family.”

The 25-year old champion’s closed things out by saying his focus was now on moving forward and preparing to beat Lyoto Machida on September 22 in a more dominating fashion than he did in their meeting last December.


  • baby face norm says:

    Jones you lost a bunch of fans in Mn… your name should be Johnny chicken bones Jones!!! Your a punk not a true champ!!! Anderson, Jose, and dos sontos would take on anybody even if its 8 days notice.. so now you want to take on a guy you know you can beat forget you!!! I usually go for the American but I hope you get knocked out and I hope your trainer Jackson gets to close to the cage and gets kicked in the head!!! Go train more point fighters Jackson!!!

  • darth_irritable says:

    “I feel terrible but it also wasn’t my decision to put a power pole in front of where my car was going. I don’t make those decisions.”

    I don’t really hate any fighter but, Jones is beginning to convert me.

  • BiG BaD BuLL says:

    To Baby Face Norm- everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but your statement paints you as a fool, as well as someone that has never fought before. Am I happy with this situation? No. But can I understand it? Absolutely. When you spend nine weeks getting ready for a specific individual, switching your training style and reflexes…to suddenly be placed with a new opponent eight days out is emotionally and mentally frustrating.

    Also, to critisize Greg Jackson? Whether you like his fighters performances or not, he does what a coach is supposed to do: teach their fighter how to inflict as much damage as possible, with out getting hurt themselves.

    How much do you enjoy getting punched in the face, B.f.n.?… Have you ever been punched in the face?…This is not me attacking you as a person, but taking a realistic outlook at “armchair quarterbacks.”…Feel free to yell and scream at me over the internet, but maybe you should take a moment to realize that the guy that you are critisizing crawls into the ring to bleed for your entertainment.

  • BiG BaD BuLL says:

    Oh, and Norm; would you be willing to square off with Bones in the ring? No? Then maybe you should keep your insults to yourself. I understand that everyone is tough behind a computer, but to call the 205 pound divisional king (who has slaughtered everyone to step before him) “Chicken Bones” Jones is an insult only upon yourself.

  • darth_irritable says:

    Jackson cops a bad rap. He doesn’t train point fighters. He trains smart fighters.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    ^ Exactly right. Not sure why there are so many who don’t recognize and/or appreciate that.

    And Jackson advised Jones not to fight a different opponent, putting his belt on the line, with only a few days to do any sort of real preparation. Not sure why so many don’t appreciate that either.

  • baby face norm says:

    Well big bad bull just like you said everyone has an opinion and for your info yeah I do fight and yeah ive been bloody in a ring!! Unlike a lot of people I do train!!! Ive trained under Jared fairbin who is a black belt under Dave camarillo and many more good camps!! Hell just in training ive got black eye’s, broken toes, even torn a lot of mussels!! But one thing about me I fight for the fans and anyone that seen me fight they know I give a show!!! I’m not saying I’m the best ive gotten my A** handed to me but ive never backed down and I always give a killer show win or lose I give the fans what they pay for!! And let me tell you I don’t get payed nearly a fraction that Jones does!!! It just makes me mad when I see a champion that wont take on anybody…

  • Screenplaya says:

    If you have an serious issue with Jones’ decision, you might not be capable of rational thought.

    If you have trouble with Jones’ decision, you are in the same camp as “Baby Face norm” above. That realization should set you straight. :)

    Jones is the champ, he doesn’t cancel cards, and he needn’t fight a windbag like Chael Sonnen who is, I understand, 0-1 as a LW. This should be clear to anyone.

    Get mad at the UFC, or get mad at Dana White. No card should depend on one fight.

  • hindsightufuk says:

    i’m far from being a fan of Jon Jones (hugely impressed by him but not a fan as such) but i see where he’s coming from. i dont see why so many people are bitching about his choice, i think Zuffa should have just pulled him from the card and carried on with someone else, wouldnt be the first time a major main event was cancelled. i also think offering the LHW champ a mouthy, borderline racist, testosterone lacking bloated middleweight chump as a replacement, down right disrespectful. i’m glad Jones told them to fuck off.

  • baby face norm says:

    And big bad bull I respect your opinion maybe i get alittle carried away!! but yes I would take him on because I have nothing to lose only to gain!! Well i guess i would have a few things to lose like my teeth, a broken nose and a fractured jaw!!! But atleast I would have the balls to do so!! Even tho I know 99 times out of a 100 they would be scrapeing me off the mat atleast when I could see again and I look at myself in the mirror I know I took on all fighters and didn’t dodge anyone!!

  • drstu says:

    Why would any champion in any sport put their belt and career on the line with just 3 days to prepare? If you can’t see jones’ perspective on this, it only goes to show that MMA has more in common with sports entertainment than actual sport.

  • Dufresne says:

    BFM, you pretty much spelled out exactly why Jones should have turned down this fight. You would take him on because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain, but on the other side that means he has nothing to gain and everything to lose. What would be his motivation for a high risk, no reward fight? People keep saying “fighters should fight” but no one seems to care that these fighters aren’t fighting for us, they’re fighting to pay their bills and feed their families in a sport where one injury can end a career leaving them with no workman’s comp or retirement packages to fall back on.

    I’m not a fan of JBJ as a human, he’s done enough hypocritical things to make me climb the walls in frustration, but at the end of the day the only people that are really looking out for his best interests is JBJ and his trainers. Why the hate? Why aren’t people pissed at all the other fighters that weren’t named and turned down the fight? Why aren’t people pissed at the UFC for not moving another fight up to the main event instead of scrapping an entire card? I’m just not sure I understand this entire mentality of blaming Jones for looking out for his career and health while letting the UFC get away with canceling 10 fights because they couldn’t find a single interesting matchup out of all of their fighters across 8 weight divisions.

  • G-DUB says:

    There’s no black or white here, but Jones is mostly to blame here. With great power comes great responsibility. The UFC promotes this card as a Jon Jones LHW title match. 10 days out, without Jones there is no card. I’m sure Dana made this abundantly clear to Jones and his team. Is that fair? Perhaps not, but that’s the way it is. Your the star of the show ….. you get paid as the star of the show …. without you, there is no show and the show must go on.
    On some level, Jones must’ve been scared of losing, but there always that risk in every fight and I submit that the risk here was considerably mitigated. Aren’t the risks of losing to Sonnen considerably less than the risks of losing to Hendo? Does Jones get much less credit for beating Sonnen than Hendo? Is his legacy tainted in any way? In terms of preparation, Jones has just completed a full camp and Sonnen’s probably been spending more time in the Fuel TV offices than in the gym. 3 days isn’t a lot of time to prepare, but it certainly is enough time to watch tons of film on Sonnen, make minor adjustments and come into the fight with more than a clue. For an in-shape phenom like Jones, I truly don’t see this affected the outcome. Most importantly, on the off chance that it does and Sonnen pulls out a win, Jones inevitably gets a pass and an immediate rematch for helping the UFC out in a tight spot. Icing on the cake is Jones gets to win the hearts and minds of the public (instead of the hate he’s had to endure in the past 24 hours) and proves himself to be a true fighting champion ready to take on all comers.
    So someone please explain to me where the risks outweigh the rewards.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    I said it in another article, I’ll mention it here again. Jones only turned down Chael, the UFC didn’t offer him anyone else besides Chael and Machida. Machida turned the fight down, and seeing what happened after the last time he fought Jones on short notice can you really blame him? Chael agreed to the fight, Jones didn’t agree to fight Chael. The UFC offered him nobody else, he might of said yes to someone else, but they just threw a fit that Jones said no.

    Also in the other article A.S stepped up and offered to fight someone other then Jones to save the show, and Dana said no. Sure they’d started the cancellation process, but I’m pretty sure that could be stopped easily.

  • elsicilian says:

    You guys are ridiculous. If a person had to jump in a cage and fight Bones Jones to have a valid opinion on him, MMA would not be a very successful sport (and JBJ would probably refuse to fight any of us anyway, since that seems to be his style).

    In any case, JBJ was obviously looking out for #1 (and it’s hard to fault him for that); but the idea that ducking Chael Sonnen, ruining an entire event, and thereby doing irreparable damage to his standing in the eyes of the fans, sponsors, UFC brass and power brokers of the sport is “good for Jon Jones” is pretty unfathomable.

    Chicken Bones Jones … heheh

  • Niv says:

    If I may, I want to thank Jon Jones for not accepting the Sonnen fight. Jones should get a huge thank you from every fight fan out there as he saved us from paying for a bullshit fight.

    Everyone’s hate gets in the way of a logical outlook. Why would Sonnen even be offered a title fight at 205lbs when he just lost his last fight at MW?

    Is losing a title fight at MW what sets up opponents for the LHW title? What a crock of shit!

    Just as Jones was given his shot against Rua on short notice the UFC should’ve turned to someone like Gustafsson, or even a Te Huna or any other LHW fighter before giving Sonnen or Belfort for that matter a shot at the LHW title.

    I think Machida was wise to turn down the fight on short notice and I think Rua would’ve done the same, but what’s wrong with giving someone in that weight class who’s scratching the surface a lottery shot?

    In short this bs cancellation is all on the UFC, stop hating Jones for doing us a favour.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    Prepare to be argued with Niv

  • G-DUB says:

    Plain and simple ….. JBJ vs. Sonnen = GOOD BUSINESS. If JBJ fancies himself as a “businessman”, he would’ve recognized the potential. Seriously …. nevermind Sonnen’s record. Under normal circumstances, you could argue whether Sonnen is worthy or not, but 10 days out from a fight all normal logic goes out the window. Brass tacks …. JBJ vs Sonnen saves the card, adds some super intrigue into the short build-up to the fight and puts $$$$ in Jones’ pocket without much risk. Win-win.

  • MCM says:

    “I signed a contract a long time ago to fight Dan Henderson. That’s what I studied for, and that’s what I prepared myself for. To take a fight with a different opponent in which I would basically have three days of training before traveling and then starting to cut weight I just thought would be the dumbest idea ever. I wouldn’t have been properly prepared,”

    This is why Jones is getting the hate and the blame. According to him, he wasn’t just turning down a fight with Chael but he would have turned down a fight with ANYONE.
    Likely scenario is the UFC found out about Hendo, they scramble for hours trying to find a replacement, Lyoto was unreachable, Gustafsson (and everyone else) turned it down due to only having 8 days to prepare for a championship fight, and finally Chael steps up. So the UFC calls Jones telling him he has a change in opponent and Jones effectively pulls himself from the card, cause he’s only trained for and will only fight Dan Henderson?!
    Had he simply turned down Chael but was willing to accept other offers, I could understand, but he won’t fight anyone he hasn’t done his “homework” on. Well consider it a “pop quiz”. If you’re as skilled as everyone thinks you are, a change of opponent shouldn’t be a major issue. But apparently it is.

  • elsicilian says:

    @Niv – I had tickets to the fight, hotel booked, time off work, plane ticket bought. Although it might be more convenient for you and Jon Jones, I assure you that no UFC event next weekend (even with a less optimal opponent in the title fight headliner) is NOT A FAVOR for me, the other folks planning on attending, the other fighters on the card, the vendors, the sponsors and the promoters.

  • Lord Faust says:

    Henderson was injured two weeks ago and kept it quiet until Wednesday night.

    Whose fault is this again?

  • Spoken says:

    This close to fight night, I doubt the UFC cared about who earned a shot. Asking pretty much anyone at light heavyweight would mean asking someone to cut weight in a week, risking their health. They had a decision to make and had to make it quick. They took a shot on a marketable replacement who walks around close enough to 205 to make weight in time. Jones cost the company I can’t even imagine how much money, and cost 20 other fighters a paycheck. It was a selfish move from a selfish little kid.

  • Lord Faust says:

    Pressuring Jones to sign a bout agreement on 8 days notice — or an entire event is cancelled — is the textbook definition of duress. No one with any sense would agree to that, and in any other context that contract would be declared null and void.

    The UFC lost a main event fight. If that destroyed a whole card then shame on the promoters. Stop saying Jones cancelled UFC 151; he opted to not take a bottom-of-the-barrel replacement with zero time to train (his coaches are gone, helping Arlovski in Asia – Jones is flying solo between now and next Thursday).

  • MCM says:

    Asking Jones to do the job he’s contracted to do is the definition of professionalism. You’ll have to excuse me if I don’t find a change of opponent to be that big a deal. It’s like a carpenter being contracted to build an entire house then being told he only needs to build a garden shed, but he’ll get paid the same (or a little more) as long as he shows up with all his tools.

  • JBAR says:

    I also do not see a drastic difference in style between Hendo and Chael. Hendo is just a better version of Chael so I would think your preperation for Dan would match up pretty well for Chael. It’s not like you spent your training camp focusing on a high level striker and got swapped to a top level wrestler / BJJ player.

  • JBAR says:

    Plus Jones had a full training camp, any replacement that was not scheduled to be on the 151 card would not have that, and they were not training for Jones just like he was not training for them so that part is a wash.

    The UFC is to blame for the cancellation of 151 no doubt about it but I just do not feel like Jones has held up his end as a fighter, much less as a champ.

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    Without rehashing all previous arguments one thing I read from JBJ made me understand his position a bit more:

    He said that the reality of it was not that he was getting 8 days of notice to prepare for Sonnen that he was really getting 3 days. He said that fight week as a champ is vastly different than as a challenger with all the extra obligations for interviews/media events.

    Training for Hendo would be alot different than for Sonnen. Both high level wrestlers, but how that is used is way different. Hendo uses body control to push you around and uses dirty boxing for control where Sonnen comes straight for a double leg and tries to control you on the ground with GnP.

    Both styles effective, but training for one would not seem to be good enough to defend against the other.

  • Niv says:

    elsilian I totally sympathize with your plight here and have to acknowledge fans like yourself being hurt in this process. However I will not blame Jon Jones for that decision, I’ll blame the UFC for cancelling the card outright.

    I don’t know if it’s an intentional act of pure genius or a side effect but the UFC has taken a turn to help make Jones the heel of the organization. They are blaming him for the cancellation when I’m sure there are other fighters that would be worthy of a main card fight that would do it on short notice.

    Jones has earned his place as champ right now and has earned the right to decline a fight on short notice, what I see here is the UFC being vindictive to its fans, champ and other fighters scheduled to make an appearance.

    Now the UFC comes up with a replacement fight next card with Belfort fighting for the LHW title, now there’s another wtf moment if there ever was one. The UFC is really doing itself and its fans disservice if his is the best they can come up with as a replacement fight.

    I guess every top LHW looking for a crack at the title needs to drop to MW to get their shot penciled in.


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