UFC light-heavyweight champion, Jon Jones', decision to turn down a Sept. 1 bout against Chael Sonnen turned him into the biggest villain in MMA.
Sonnen is no stranger to self promotion, and he capitalized on the negative publicity surrounding Jones. With just a few well-coined phrases, the "American Gangster" turned himself into a contender in the UFC's light-heavyweight division.
"Jon Jones has his own way of going about things," Sonnen said during an interview with ESPN. "This guy is an entitled brat. And when you get that way, and you're surrounded by people who tell you these things, you don't think about anyone but yourself. .. All he's doing is delaying is the inevitable, I can beat Jon Jones, but he can beat me too. … This was his big opportunity to slip one past the greatest icon this sport has ever seen, and he missed it. He missed it like a chump!"
However, the youngest champion in UFC history didn't crawl into a hole and hide. Jones explained his decision during an interview with MMAJunkie.com. "Bones" also called Sonnen's bluff, challenging him to fight on Sept. 22.
"Whether Chael Sonnen actually deserves a title shot really isn't my place to say," Jones said. "But if he wants to fight on Sept. 22, then I'm fine with that."
After the cancellation of the entire UFC 151 fight card, Jones was expected to face Lyoto Machida on Sept. 22, but it turns out "The Dragon" doesn't want any part of "Bones" on short-notice. Jones will now face Vitor Belfort at UFC 151 (the UFC 152 card was renamed), even though he's willing to fight Sonnen on that date.
Obviously, given the fact Sonnen has reenergized his fan base; it's only a matter of time before the Portland native gets a shot at Jones. I can't say I blame the UFC for being quiet about Jones' offer to fight Chael on Sept. 22, considering the fact it'll be a lot more profitable to delay it a bit, while Sonnen runs around goading the champion.
Even though the cancellation of the UFC 151 fight card will cost the Ultimate Fighting Championship a lot of money; it turns out to be a blessing in disguise. It's now pretty much guaranteed that a fight card headlined by Sonnen and Jones will generate UFC 148 type numbers, which will more than make up for all the losses the promotion incurred by cancelling the Sept. 1 fight card.
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.