A Champion is more than the strap he/she wears

Posted: August 24, 2012 in Marketing, PR, Strikeforce, UFC

For once my delay in writing is not from being out of town, but for being out of words. I was speechless and now I’ll be rambling.  I’m still shocked that UFC 151 is canceled. The first canceled event under the White-Fertitta MMA empire to be precise.  And, for a group dedicated to MMA perfection, this is a shame.

What happened?

LHW contender Dan Henderson is injured and will not be able to compete as planned against current division lead Jon “Bones” Jones.  An injury would not remove the card from the MMA spectrum, but a declining “champion” would.  “Mr. Jones” – as only Greg Jackson calls him – declined to take a replacement from Chael Sonnen. That’s right, a man that has been fighting middleweight for several years.

Jones is considered by many to be one of the pound for pound “greats” and, someone who won his title from “Shogun” Rua on short notice due to Rashad Evan’s knee injury.  When a similar opportunity arrived, it would seem he was not willing to return the favor to the karma gods.  Instead, Jones would decline the fight – a first for any champion under the watch of Dana White – and cause the card to be canceled.  Without a strong main event you can’t hold a PPV.  This is rough for fans, but from a business standpoint I understand. If you only put your name on quality, why half-ass it?  But canceling an event is not as simple as flipping a switch – you have fans that have purchased tickets, booked flights, hotel rooms etc.  You also have fighters on the undercard that will not receive a paycheck since they did not get their time in the cage.

Much like Dana White, I’m disgusted by this entire exchange.  Former champions like Hughes, Franklin, Liddell, Couture etc – “the old guard” – would always rise to the challenge and help the UFC. Even Tito Ortiz, a man known for being difficult, never once turned down a fight asked of him by the UFC.  This is the equivalent of being in an office and simply not doing what your boss asks of you.  Last I checked, you follow the orders of the people paying your check.

This is one hell of a PR trap “Mr Jones” cannot avoid and certainly will not help him “win some fans.”  He let down his boss, his fans and his colleagues (fellow fighters).  Only a few short months ago the UFC was willing to make Jones their “face” having him wear their UFC clothing line as his lone sponsor against rival Rashad Evans.  Now, their repayment is the complete destruction of a PPV event.  Jones thinks this is “business savvy” as he wants to fight where he can win and make top dollar.  Well, I would assume that based on this action should he lose his next fight and the strap he’ll find his contract cut short, or he will forever be out of title contention.

To save face from this entire debacle, the UFC pushed a Jones title fight out to UFC 152 (technically now 151) and named his opponent as Lyoto Machida.  Sound like a good fix? Wrong. Machida then declined that fight. What? (Official memo below)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enter the “old guard” – Vitor Belfort, “The Phenom” himself will now move up a weight class and take on Jon Jones on short notice.  Belfort a former LHW and HW champion could pose a serious KO threat to Jones.  Will be interested to see how the UFC markets this fight and how they cast their former “face” in the collateral/video segments…

Stay tuned for more.

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Comments
  1. jumpingpolarbear says:

    Great of Vitor to step up. It is going to be very tough to beat Jon though!

  2. […] A Champion is more than the strap he/she wears […]

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