An odd change of events happened in the UFC on Thursday.
Former ASU wrestler Dan Henderson had pulled out of the main event of UFC 151 for the light heavyweight championship, leaving champion and mixed martial arts phenom Jon Jones without an opponent for the Sept. 1 fight in Las Vegas.
Chael Sonnen later volunteered and expressed interest in replacing Henderson, since he and Jones shared a feud through the media in the past.
Problem solved, right?
Jones refused the offer, citing he wouldn’t want to fight him on such short notice. With no one else interested in stepping in, the UFC was forced to cancel an event for the first time in the promotion’s history, president Dana White angrily announced in a media conference call Thursday.
For a rising star that’s consistently ranked amongst the pound-for-pound best, Jones’s refusal is inexcusable. Fighting Sonnen would have padded his already-storied career, but instead he’s now portrayed as a coward and leaves a huge financial burden on the UFC now that the company has to refund tickets.
Not to mention there are fighters in the undercard who rely on frequent fights to make a living, and now don’t have a paycheck coming soon.