Greg Jackson has responded:
Minutes after UFC president Dana White announced that UFC 151 was cancelled because Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones declined to fight potential Dan Henderson injury replacement Chael Sonnen, Mauro Ranallo talked to Jones' head trainer Greg Jackson about the fallout, specifically White's comments about Jackson being "an (expletive) sport killer".
Jackson pointed out that Jones didn't turn down the fight on eight days notice but that it's really three days due to fight week being full of weight cutting and media obligations.
"I was asked if it was smart to take a fight on three days notice and I don't think it's smart to do that," Jackson said on The MMA Show. "Three days to fight a guy that caliber is not a smart thing to do. I'm not trying to ruin the sport or cancel an event. I don't know about that stuff, but thought it wasn't a wise course of action."
Jackson said that to fight someone of Sonnen's caliber, you "need to have a full training camp. That would seem smart to me. Fighting on three days notice isn't taking (the sport) seriously to me." He added that the decision wasn't solely his, but that Jones' entire team met and discussed whether to take the Sonnen fight on short notice. He merely added his opinion.
At the time of the interview, Jackson said he hadn't talked to Jones yet. He was also surprised at the negative reaction from White. After the jump, get the details about what Jackson thinks about his relationship with White given Thursday's comments.
SBN coverage of UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson
On his feelings toward White now, Jackson said that he wasn't mad but confused. "I really like Dana and respect him...there is no ill feelings. I'm more confused than anything else."
"It's a serious fight with serious ramifications. I don't think I need to reach out to Dana. I didn't mean to cancel an event and was asked to give an opinion and I gave it. We all got together and are on the same sheet of music. These guys are professional promoters and that's what they do," he continued.
"I didn't know they had it all riding on one fight. It's one of those things...as a trainer. I'll give you my opinion. I'm not a yes man...I do what's best for my guy. I'm surprised by the veracity of his response but that's my opinion."
Jackson also said that if Sonnen was presented as an opponent for Jones in late-September instead of Lyoto Machida, they would have taken the fight.
"In this case (of the short notice fight), it's a world title fight in the best sport in the world on three days notice. This isn't backyard brawling...it's a professional sport."
"I think Chael is brilliant. He circumvented an entire division...went right from Anderson (Silva) to Jon. It's brilliant...he's got nothing to lose and everything to gain. I'm always impressed by him," Jackson said.