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The cancellation of UFC 151 has brought about a lot of reaction from fans and writers alike. Several MMATorch readers have sent in their reactions, a few of which you can read below, along with some responses from MMATorch Editor-in-Chief Jamie Penick:
Steve Abraham writes: I wanted to weigh-in on this subject regarding Mr. White and his reaction to Jon Jones refusing the fight with Sonnen. I read a column that was written about "Mayhem Miller" commenting on Dana being a wanna-be fighter and I think that's an accurate depiction of Mr. White. I love the UFC and think that Dana has a great passion for the sport, but more often than not, he speaks out of turn; making an ass of himself.
Perhaps someone should petition Mr. White to step-up and take the fight with Chael and see how he fares against the elite wrestler. Dana talks a lot about the fighters from an observers perspective, but he has no experience in the Octagon nor the preparation to enter the Octagon. Therefore he should refrain from making comments about fighters, namely world champions and about them choosing to accept or decline fights. Whether short notice or not, this fight is too risky for Jones to take without truly being prepared for that particular fight. We all know that in mma anyone can be on the wrong end of a kick or punch and lose it all, just like that. The wiser decision was make by Jones to opt out of the fight.
Indeed the opportunity for Sonnen is a great one, but as a champion, it is not worth the risk no matter how great a fighter he is (Jones). Again, I just wish, White would put his money where his mouth is and step in the ring and show us and his fighters just how it should be done. This is just my $0.02 as an observer and practitioner of the martial arts.
Penick: White's never held himself to be a fighter, so that's not something that's ever going to happen, but he definitely oversteps his bounds at times in some comments regarding the men who do step in the cage for a living. His tirade against Jones this week was unnecessary and detrimental to the UFC's need to promote Jones in the future. And considering the news that came out about Henderson's injury happening weeks ago, the tirade was misplaced and not at all accurate to the situation.
Daniel Saunders writes: Do you think Jon Jones would have taken the fight if Chael kept his mouth shut and didn't get under the champ's skin? I think this time his bull***t lost him a chance at the belt, a chance he didnt earn being 8-7 in the UFC. So I know it was Jon's decision but i really beleave that if Chael and Jones had no conflict on twitter last week, and if Chael would just shut up we could be watching him get his ass kicked in a main event this weekend. Just a thought was curious on your guys take on that angle or perspective.
Penick: The conspiracy theory now is that Sonnen knew about Henderson's injury, and that's why he started trying to start something with Jones on Fuel TV and Twitter. Some believe he was prepared for Henderson's removal, and was actually trying to train for Jones in anticipation of being a replacement, which would have given him a slight edge he wouldn't have otherwise had. There is, of course, no way to prove that theory, but it could have been suspicious to Jones and his camp, and it's not out of the question that the simple idea of that could have worked against Sonnen.
Logan Patterson writes: I understand that Jon Jones deserves some blame for not taking the fight, but honestly, why couldn't the UFC just air the card anyways? Hell if they would've waited a few hours they could've put Anderson freaking Silva on the card. Even without knowing that, if they care so much about their fighters, then they should've let them fight, or given them their to show pay. To just tell them they're not getting paid because one guy was backed into a corner is extremely unfair. I personally think Jon Jones should've taken the fight because he's the champ. He's head honcho. He should walk into that arena knowing he can kick anyone's ass on any given night. However, it was the UFC that rushed to cancel the card and use Jones as a scapegoat to cover their tracks. it's not like we haven't seen pay-per-view fights headlined by a fading Frank Mir and a washed up Mirko Cro Cop. They have plenty of fighters with name value that were willing to step up and say let me fight. Throw Sonnen vs. Weidman in there. Is that a championship fight? No. Is that a headline fight? Of course. Both those guys were willing to step up. Jon Jones should've taken the fight, but he didn't. Ultimately, the UFC shouldn't have rushed to bury the event and should've still aired the fight and let other fighters in the organization step up.
Gordon Isaac writes: Why didn't the UFC just keep the card as is, provide refunds to those who didn't want to go just like they do at concerts when they reschedule, and make it a free card on FX? They could have filled the two hours needed, and the fights could go on.
This is in no way JJ's fault. I am not a huge fan of his, but the UFC has been trying to do an event so frequently now that often times the card is lack luster. It's not up to Jones to react to the situation. It's Hendersons fault he got hurt, and the UFC's fault for having a lame card that couldn't carry a show.
The rest of the points you guys have already made. Dana is just greedy, and the fact that JJ was smart about not taking a random fight as a champion is what pissed him off cause he wasnt getting the pay out. If JJ was greedy he would have asked for triple the money win or lose, and a guaranteed rematch should he lose. He could have made a big pay day out of this, but he was sensible and that should be respected.
Penick: The UFC was backed into a problem of their own design with this card. Had Josh Koscheck not gotten injured, I guarantee the event would have gone ahead with him against Jake Ellenberger in the main event. With his injury, however, the UFC was left with Ellenberger against Jay Hieron as the top fight, and that's an event that wouldn't have garnered any pay-per-view buys. They could have tried to pull a fight from an upcoming card to put on there on late notice, but either way they didn't have a ton of options, because this was a one-fight card. They erred in relying on one fight, when one of those competitors was a 41-year-old. That's a mistake. As to moving things to FX, They had an obligation to the pay-per-view providers that they couldn't meet, and it's not a simple thing to just move it to free television. That wouldn't have been doable, unfortunately, and they didn't have a ton of options outside of canceling the event.
Jon Worthen writes: I've been a MMA fan since I saw VHS tapes of Royce Gracie fighting guys 50 lbs heavier and dominating still. I never thought I'd say this but I've started to lose interest in this sport and it's due to non-fighting issues, i.e. the Edgar decision most recently and others of its kind, and capped off by the utter ridiculousness of the supposed cream of the crop, the head of the world's biggest MMA organization having to cancel, CANCEL, it's next major event. I can't imagine another sport where this could go on, it's absolutely preposterous that the UFC can't or couldn't pull this off. I understand injuries happen and I understand they happen frequently in MMA but really? Really? This is what MMA fans now deal with? Fighters refusing to fight other fighters, Dana White not taking the blame for anything, Dana White being the ultimate hypocrite on TRT use, and so much more; but it's such a disappointment that the UFC bungled this so badly. So my question is, finally, do you think this damages the UFC with its fans and how?
Penick: This is something that very well could have a long-reaching effect on the UFC's business. Though it's the first time it's happened to this extreme, they've had situations where pay-per-view events have gone on with worse fights because of injuries. You don't even have to look far back for that, as UFC 147 is a prime example. That was a less-than-one-fight card after Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen got moved, and when Vitor Belfort got injured it seemed like just canceling it would be the best course then. They can't always have stacked cards, but fans are going to be wary about plopping down tons of money for "big fights" if the rest of the card isn't up to snuff, because the loss of the only sellable fight is a blow that can't be rebounded from. On the point of issues with other sports, a similar situation could happen in boxing if one of the pay-per-view headliners goes down due to injury that close to a fight, but outside of that, it's a "show must go on" mentality. Not every NFL, NHL, MLB, or NBA game is going to have every star player, as injuries happen throughout the sport's world, but it's only on a card like this where losing one or two names could lead to a cancellation. This was an unfortunate situation all around, but the way the card was booked definitely shoulders some of the blame, and it could be a negative for the UFC moving forward in terms of selling future fights to fans.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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