UFC President Dana White is furious with fighter Jon Jones in the wake of the news that UFC 151 had to be canceled. The fight, which was scheduled to take place on Sept. 1 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, had to be canceled because champion Jon Jones refused to take on a replacement for the injured Dan Henderson. The Associated Press reports that White made the announcement Thursday and it was the first time in 11 years a major UFC card was quashed.
Chael Sonnen would have been the replacement for light heavyweight Henderson, who is being forced to sit out the match because of a knee injury.
White said Jones is the first champion ever to turn down a match. Sonnen had previously agreed to move up an entire weight class with just eight days to prepare for the fight against Jones. The UFC president told multiple news organizations how impressed he was with Sonnen's willingness to take on Jones and described Jones' refusal as devastating.
"This is probably one of my all-time lows of being president in 11 years," said White, according to OpposingViews.com.
White also said Jones made "a terrible decision that affects a lot of people." The UFC boss hasn't escaped the ire of fans, though, as his outspoken views on the fast-growing sport has irritated many. White is far from shy about speaking his mind, a trait some find endearing and others can't stand.
By criticizing Jones for affecting other people, White is able to vent his frustration by casting himself as the saving grace for the disenfranchised fans and fighters. He forgot to mention, though, that he also is losing out on a lot of money and exposure by sacrificing UFC 151. CelebrityNetworth.com reports that White earns an annual salary of $5 million.
Jon Jones became the youngest UFC champion ever at UFC 128 when he beat Mauricio Rua by a total knockout in just 2:37 in round 3, according to Sherdog.com. During the early part of his still-young career, Jones had been described as easy to root for because of his relative modesty. Unlike UFC stars like Rashad Evans and Randy "Rampage" Jackson, Jones was described by the Bleacher Report as "a role model and a great ambassador for the sport."
It's hard to see that image sticking in the wake of UFC 151's cancelation Thursday as fans took to social media to voice their displeasure with the news.
"Jon Jones will have a lot of explaining to do," tweeted @FrontRowBrian.
"UFC cancels 151 because their headliner got injured and they had a poor backup plan and yet @DanaWhite wants to blame [Jon Jones]? C'mon..." tweeted @jsliverz.
Jones himself remained relatively quiet throughout the backlash Thursday, tweeting only a quote from Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese author of "The Art of War."
"And therefore those killed in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him," Jones tweeted in a not-so-subtle reference to wanting to be the master of his own destiny in the octagon.