For the first time in UFC history, the organisation has cancelled an entire fight card with the scrapping of UFC 151: Jones vs Henderson due to Hendo getting and MCL injury.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement on Thursday during a media teleconference.
“This is probably one of my all-time lows as president of the UFC over the last 11 years,” said White. “For the first time in 11 years, we’re going to cancel an event. Dan Henderson has a partial tear in his MCL and couldn’t continue. He tried to train and tried to continue to work out, he saw doctors and there was nothing we could do to save that fight.”
Said Henderson in a statement, “Sadly and unfortunately, I partially tore a ligament in my knee in training. As a result I’ve had to make one of the toughest decisions that I have ever had to make…for the first time in my career I am forced to pull out of a fight, my fight with Jon Jones at UFC 151. Luckily, surgery is not needed at this time and I will be completely devoted to rehabbing my knee as quickly as possible. I feel that I owe it to my fans and all the people supporting me to fight at my full potential in order to give myself a chance to win the UFC title. I appreciate the loyal support that I have felt from my fans. I want to thank all of my coaches and team of guys for the great support with my training camp. Most importantly, I appreciate their honesty when I needed them the most to make this very difficult decision. I also want to thank Dana and Lorenzo for being so understanding and supportive. I will continue to pursue the UFC belt with all of my heart!”
But the dramas didn’t stop there. Chael Sonnen answered the call to step in and fight Jones but the champ flatly refused to fight him.
“One of the things you’ve heard me brag about a million times is how UFC doesn’t have to cancel events and that we can always find a replacement,” White said. “For somebody to fight Jon Jones on eight days’ notice is tough to do. But to be totally honest, one guy did. Not only when I called him did he say I’ll take the fight, he said I’ll fly to Las Vegas tonight and fight him. And that was Chael Sonnen. Chael Sonnen accepted the fight with Jon Jones, wanted the fight bad, so as of eight, nine o’clock last night, we had a fight. We started working, started creating commercials, PR started getting ready to crank up, but the one thing that I never thought in a million years would happen happened. Jon Jones said I’m not fighting Chael Sonnen with eight days notice.“.
Yep, Jon Jones forced the UFC to cancel UFC 151.
The Bleacher Report runs down the devastating affect this will have in the eyes of Jones’ fans:
“This is one of those selfish, disgusting decisions that don’t just affect you,” White said during a media conference call.
Fighters on the undercard are out a paycheck. The UFC is out millions in expenses. And, while tickets are refundable, many fans will be stuck with airfare costs after planning trips to see the show in sin city.
There are certain kinds of fighters, the UFC President preached, that built the company into a billion dollar behemoth. Jones, he said, isn’t one of them. Thanks to his reticence to fight Sonnen on just eight days notice, the UFC will be forced to cancel an event for the first time in the company’s 18 year history.
White, obviously disappointed at Jones’ decision to not accept the bout, scrapped the UFC 151 card and has moved “Bones” to September 22nd’s UFC 152 show in Toronto, where he will face Vitor Belfort.