Before i start, i just wanna say i am not here to defend Jones or stuff like that. He can do it himself, through media, Twitter, FB or whateva he feels like. I would have loved for him to smash Sonnen's face tbh, but the i guess he, and his team, know best.
The reason i thought about writing this is simple.
I've read a lot of articles, on multiple sites dedicated to this "drama" and i found a pattern in a lot of them.
I just feel like the UFC managed to get a lot of s*it off their shoulders and throw it in other people's backyard.
They convinced the a lot of people that the reason for them cancelling 151 was Jones' refusal to accept a fight. A fight the UFC president himself said was not gonna happen, just 2 days before trying to fix it up. Not that it's something new...Dana White going back on his words...
On paper it's easy: Jones accepts to fight Sonnen, the event goes on. Peace everywhere.
In reality, the main event gets cancelled and the whole event gets cancelled.
And then i thought about UFC 137, wich, in a way had a pretty similar story, up to a point.
The main event, GSP vs Condit - gets cancelled 11 days before happening because GSP got injured.
SO...the difference between 137 and 151 is the fact that the fighter getting injured is the champion and not the challenger. And it happened 11 days before the fight, not 8 days before the fight.
In that case however, there was no drama, no insults thrown around by mr White.
It is known and recognised that Condit opted to remove himself from the card altogether as he wished to wait for a title shot against GSP.
Mr Condit is a fighter coming out of...............Jackson's MMA. Yes...his coach, mentor and adviser when it comes to his fights and the decisions that come along is none other than Mr. Greg Jackson.
I don't remember White fuming after Condit pulled out of the fight. He was the challenger, a guy fighting in the main event of a UFC PPV card, and his fight was just....cancelled.
I don't remember White or the UFC trying to find a replacement for GSP, and throw him in the cage against Condit, even though a lot of fighters would have jumped on that opportunity.
In reality, everything went smooth. No insults, no calling bad names, no beeps on press conferences, no finger pointing.
Now why is that?
There are a lot of answers that could fit this question, but, at the end of the day, when you have Dana White's name involved in the problem, it's simple: it all comes down to MONEY!!!!!
Yup, the green stuff...and i am not talking about the one you roll and smoke, nore am i talking about the Hulk.
You see, at 137, Dana and the UFC had something they didn't have for 151: a solid card, filled with solid fighters. And when i say solid fighters, i am talking about "NAME RECOGNITION", because at this moment in time, that is what is selling big. Having fighters whose name means something for the people buying the card, even though they may not be on top of their game or they're past their prime.
On top of that, UFC 137 had a solid co-main event: a fight between 2 of the biggest names in MMA: Penn and Diaz. Two former champions, one of them being a champion at that time, but in another organisation. Both guys were supposed to bring it on, the winner potentially being next in line for the title.
If you look at 151, the co main event was Ellenberger vs Kosheck, both coming off losses. An interesting fight, but the fight didn't say a lot. Not even before it was cancelled, due to Kos' injury. There was no hype whatsoever regarding that fight. It was badly eclipsed by the main event and extremely poor promoted by the UFC.
And when the UFC announced KOS' replacement, a lot of people shook their heads.
How can you put a non UFC fighter in a co-main event of a PPV. A fighter whose last UFC fight was in 2005. And his UFC record is 0-2 to start with.
Remember: Kos pulled out of the fight 26 days before the fight. The UFC had time to come up with a better opponent for Ellenberger and if i may...a bigger name, in order to promote the card better.
I don't know about others...but that's just a proof about them being careless and unprofessional.
Further more: if you continue the comparison between the teo cards, you can see why there was so much drama in one case and so much harmony in the other one:
Kongo vs Mittrione
Cro Cop vs Nelson
Jorgensen vs Curran
Hioki vs Roop
Ellenberger vs Hieron
Siver vs Yagin
Hallman vs Tavares
Lineker vs Urushitami
I know: you cannot label fight cards before they actually take place. A card with less "star power" could end up eclipsing a card full of big names and champions (ex-) on it.
But...before it takes place and before you watch the card, you have to pay for it. Because that is what uncle Dana wants, when he announces a PPV card: he wants your money.
And the better he promotes the card, the bigger the sales are. The more he makes people believe the PPV fights are worth the 55$ he is asking for them, the more money he makes.
And for this specific card - 151 - uncle Dana and his company, made an ALL IN bet on Jon Jones. And him fighting another MMA legend and ex champion. The story was simple: win or lose, they would have come out of this event with something: the young champion continues his reign of terror upon his division, or.....the old lion has pulled out one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.
And the UFC would have built from there on.
Unfortunatelly for them, the bet didn't go.
Without Jones, the PPV bet would have been: Ellenberger vs Hieron...and if you add that to the rest of the names on the PPV card, let't be honest: who the F*UCK pays 55$ to see Urushitami vs Lineker?! No disrespect to them.
137 on the other hand, was a safe bet: lose the main event, but still have a badass main event + you have 2 HW fights and star power on the PPV card: ex champions, MMA legends, or ex title contenders.
Even without GSP, the card looked good on paper. It didn't sell what they were hoping for, but it wasn't a disaster.
In the case of 151, going ahead with the card, without Jones would have been a catastrophe of epic proportions.
And it wouldn't be a HUGE problem, if it were a singular case, but it would be just a culmination of too many bad decisions the UFC execs took lately.
It was a rough year in terms of injuries, wich affected a lot of the cards, but that's not an excuse for the poor PPV cards the UFC has put this year. Their plan of offering more and more cards backfired badly.
And it wasn't because of Jones, let's be honest. In that area, White is just f*cking pissed that someone had the balls to defy him publicly. And in such a manner.
Jones' actions and those of his camp, left a huge dent in White's "armour" and made him look vulnerable.
If the 151 card had some good fights scheduled, "star power" as i like to call it, the UFC would have never cancelled the event. Never ever.
The essence of this comparison is simple: by cancelling the whole event, the UFC basically sent a message to the fighters from the 151 card, who were meant to deliver. And i am not talking about fights...I am talking about the PPV buys...i am talking about the money the fighters would have made for the UFC, by selling the card.
Sure, the fights could have been amazing, but...who would have watched them...legally?! Who would have paid 55$ to watch Siver vs Yagin or Lineker vs Urushitami?!
At 137, the UFC trusted the fighters on the card, to deliver the goods, even with the main event called off, 11 days before the show.
8 days vs 11 days. What a difference 3 days make, right?
Bringing in Sonnen sounded good...only in the UFC executive's minds. Because Sonnen's mouth could raise some quick interest around 151. Business wise, a good move.
Sports wise - a complete bullshit decision.
Giving a shot at the 205 belt to a 185er coming from a loss in a title fight, who never even fought at 205 in the UFC is absurd. I know there was not a lot of time to save the day, but the UFC's way of handling this case was amateurish, to say the least.
They made the UFC look like the WWE. A joke, a farse.
I will end up with something i've read in an article, on MMA Mania. A very good one.
PS: i hope you didn't fall asleep reading this...your critics are welcome
White is doing a hell of a thing, deflecting blame onto Jones and his camp like this, obscuring the fact that this is an unprecedented move for the UFC because UFC cards right now are shallow to an unprecedented degree.
As for the undercard fighters, there are two people they should be looking to before they look to Jones for responsibility: 1. themselves and the extent to which they are a draw in the sport, and 2. Dana White, who has shown very little faith in their ability to hold the show together. Jones doesn't owe money to the undercard fighters. The UFC does.