Jon Jones: “I feel terrible, but it also wasn’t my decision to cancel the whole card
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.
Right now i think Jones is getting way, way too much heat for this. Dana did a very good point and blame job here. The UFC isn't a team sport and it's not his job to put together an event. Jones had been prepared for Hendo for a long time, all the media stuff, weight cutting etc. Try to see it from his point of view. Meanwhile Sonnen had just been TKO'd and offered a title fight in a division he had not competed in 7 years. Props to him for accepting but to say his the man with balls of steel is a tad much. The UFC dropped the ball for running a card with only one fight.