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By: Dan Moore, MMATorch UK Contributor
Before you read on it's disclaimer time. I've spent the past 24 hours or so reading timelines on Twitter and keeping abreast of the news on MMA Torch (obviously!), and everyone is freaking miserable. So with a small dose of satirical observation, this is a light hearted look at what went down yesterday. I've decided to create my own ‘Judge Judy' style article to get to the bottom of who's really at fault for the event that will never happen, yet will still go down as a more exciting card than UFC 149:
Dana White: Blame Rating - (10/10)
Is he for real? No wonder he thinks Charlie Sheen's 'Anger Management' show is great television (It's not just because it's on FX folks). If there was ever a time for the Fertitta's to call in a public relations expert, it's now, right now! We've all heard White blow of a little bit of steam from time to time, but Thursday's conference call was on another level. Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, Anthony Johnson, Nate Marquardt, and Rampage Jackson - to name a few - all hold one thing in common, they've all been verbally assaulted by Dana White in the public domain. Welcome to the club Jon Jones, you've just survived the wrath of Dr. Evil himself.
Here's a boss who has just vociferously slaughtered his star performer for saying no to a replacement fight, yet only recently said very little when his star performer went and got pissed up, crashing a $200,000 Bentley straight into a telephone post. If I was ever asked to describe Dana White in two simple words, I'd plump for "Successful Psychopath" as an appropriate way to describe his personality. On a serious note, White has to take a huge amount of the responsibility for this card failing. Yes it was unlucky and they were caught out by injuries, but injuries happen on virtually every event; yet with this one, they had nothing to fall back on, nothing at all.
Greg Jackson: Blame Rating - (0/10)
You know you've had a bad day when someone calls you a “F***ing Sport Killer” and suggests you need an appointment with a psychiatrist (slightly taken out of context, but I'm using it anyway). It would be a bad day if you were told that on the telephone, or even face to face. But to hear you've been publicly castrated in front of umpteen MMA reporters, and thousands of fans, can't be viewed as a good day, even if you are a person who rarely gets flustered. Funnily enough, I don't know Greg Jackson personally, so I can't really comment on whether or not he needs the services of a qualified psychiatrist. I can comment on whether or not I think Mr. Jackson deserves the "FSK" tag, and my answer would be "he probably does not."
This is not the first time Jackson has been on the receiving end of such criticism; he seems to get accused of this every time one of his fighters appears on a UFC card, and it won't be the last time either. He's a coach, not a fight promoter, so what was he supposed to say when Jones asked for his advice? I like many others would have said exactly the same thing. Jackson is also a businessman and any loss for Jon Jones directly impacts him, his reputation, and the reputation of his camp.
Jon Jones: Blame Rating - (0/10)
Jon Jones must have forgotten about his recently announced sponsorship deal with Nike when he decided to turn down the chance to fight Chael Sonnen. Either that or he obviously doesn't know that Nike built their multi billion dollar empire using the slogan "Just Do It." Jones had the opportunity to do exactly that, and decided to do the exact opposite. If I were a Nike executive right now, I'd seriously consider sacking Jones, and offer the same mouth watering contract to Chael Sonnen.
From a performance standpoint, Jones has been a company guy and a real asset to Zuffa. Whilst it suited his needs in equal measure, he stepped forward at short notice to fight Shogun. He fought four times last year, and was on for a second appearance in 2012. With GSP out injured, Lesnar departing and Silva's inactivity, Jones has really stepped up as a guaranteed PPV big hitter, and this is how he's treated? Remarkable. Dana White knows better than most that Jones and everyone else will always take the abuse without rebuttal, because they have nowhere else to go, for now.
Chael Sonnen: Blame Rating - (0/10)
Without question, Chael P. Sonnen could sell ice to the Eskimo's. He's got his own personal book of quotes and exquisite timing for good measure. Anyone who can maneuver himself into yet another title shot, just weeks after being battered in the last one (at a different weight) is cool in my book. To even be considered as a replacement this time, and have Jones turn him down, will no doubt afford Sonnen months of verbal ammunition that I look forward to hearing. No blame has or will be levied at Sonnen for this fiasco and Vitor Belfort aside, he's come out of this situation as the biggest winner.
Lyoto Machida: Blame Rating - (0/10)
I really don't understand the logic behind Lyoto Machida's decision to turn down the Jones fight at both UFC 151 and UFC 152. It seems Steven Seagal is giving him career advice now in addition to taking the credit for every Karate kick ever invented? (He actually played the part of Mr Miyagi, wearing a really good disguise!). It's either that or Machida has been drinking far too much urine with his breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Title opportunities come around at a premium, so to turn down two (In the midst of a ONE fight win streak), is ballsy to say the least. I don't care if he was on a flight heading to Brazil, they do have airports in Rio de Janeiro enabling him to turn around, and head straight back to the United States of America.
Anderson Silva: Blame Rating - (0/10)
I don't believe for a second that Silva was actually willing to fight at UFC 151 in order to save the already cancelled card. I want to believe it, but I can't, and I don't. Anderson Silva doesn't want to fight middleweight Chris Weidman with a full training camp to prepare, so why on earth would he volunteer to fight a random light heavyweight on eight days notice? Why was that offer only made after the cancellation was officially announced? Correct me if I'm wrong, Silva and Machida share the same manager, Ed Soares.
Surely Soares was aware of the bigger picture when the UFC tried to contact Machida. Let's face it, Silva and his management company haven't actually been immune to criticism recently, and this was the ideal opportunity to garner some public sympathy. Their recent argument has all been driven by the dollar, and how fighting someone without profile wouldn't be profitable, nor worth the effort. Weidman is considered too high risk with very low reward, so wouldn't a light heavyweight fight on an already depleted card with eight days notice, end up even more of a risk? This was nothing more than a well executed publicity stunt, and everyone fell for it. Suckers.
Charlie Brenneman: Blame Rating - (0/10)
When the opportunity to candor favour from the boss presented itself, Brenneman took it with both hands yesterday. Cheap publicity at its finest, right there folks. If you're going to go on Twitter and sarcastically blast another fighter for losing you your pay cheque, at least wait a while until a decision to reschedule your fight has been made. Low and behold, Brenneman is getting paid after all. His super fight with Kyle Noke will be on Facebook, just three weeks later than originally planned.
Josh Koscheck: Blame Rating - (11/10)
Mr Koscheck didn't actually do anything wrong yesterday, in fact he didn't really do anything wrong throughout the entire build up to UFC 151. However, this is Josh Koscheck I'm talking about here, and when there is criticism to hand out, he should always be front and centre ready to receive it. Koscheck built his empire by being a dick, and that reputation alone could have saved UFC 151 had he not been forced to withdraw a few weeks ago.
Although far from ideal, his fight with Jake Ellenberger could have stepped up to save the day. I'd pay every time for the chance to see Koscheck getting knocked out. For that reason alone, I lay the blame for everything that happened yesterday entirely at the feet of Josh f'ing Koscheck.
Feel free to share your opinions with me on Twitter, @MMATorchDan
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