UFC fighters frustrated with Jones vs. Sonnen
Yesterday, a bombshell landed.
Dana White revealed that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen will coach opposite one another on the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” and the two will meet at the UFC’s April pay-per-view event.
Well, it didn’t take long for reactions to explode all over the internet, whether it be throughout the media or from the fans. But let’s not pretend like the people who will pay to watch the fight took the biggest hit.
No, several UFC fighters responded with their opinions on the match up, ranging from Forrest Griffin to Dan Henderson.
Henderson Responds to Jones vs. Sonnen
Henderson went to Twitter to voice his opinion stating:
I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to shit talking school. @danawhite
— Dan Henderson (@danhendo) October 17, 2012
Of course, he made sure to direct it to his boss, UFC president Dana White.
Henderson’s disdain for the decision is hardly a shocker. Just two months ago, the MMA legend was training for a fight with Jones, from which he was forced to withdraw due to injury.
That fight would have taken place at UFC 151, and it seems that the late notice “Hendo” gave White about his injury (which was ultimately the leading factor in the event’s cancelation) may have played an enormous role in determining the next top contender.
But Henderson’s disappointment (and perhaps even anger) is equal to the surprise of Sonnen and his camp.
“It was a surprise to me, and I just talked to Chael a few minutes ago and it was a surprise to him, too,” Scott McQuary, Sonnen’s head trainer, told Bleacher Report. “I had just walked out of the movie Here Comes The Boom, and one of my students left me a message saying call me right now, Chael’s made ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’
“I called him and he’s (Sonnen) like, ‘Yea, I just found out myself. I didn’t know.’ We had no idea this offer was going to be on the table.”
Sonnen, of course, came very close to fighting Jones at the aforementioned UFC 151, but Jones turned down that fight. Simply stated, Team Sonnen’s surprise comes as no surprise at all.
And the many voicing opinion after the news broke seem to be pointing to one big factor that makes this fight seem a little off; Sonnen hasn’t fought at light heavyweight in seven years.
He was set to return to the division against Forrest Griffin at UFC 155 in a rematch from a fight that took place almost a decade ago.
But with all the negativity surrounding the Sonnen-Jones match up, Griffin is one of the few finding a positive view of the UFC’s decision, though he coats it with some negativity.
He spoke with FUEL TV’s Ariel Helwani, and Helwani delivered the former light heavyweights statements on “UFC Tonight.”
“(Griffin) said, ‘I don’t blame Chael for taking this fight. Why work your way to the top, if you can talk your way to the top?’ And he did say, somewhat jokingly, ‘I’m actually glad that I’m not fighting him now, because watching his fights was so boring and tedious.'”
The overwhelmingly negative reaction to this enormous news essentially comes down to the fact that Sonnen has not proven himself in the cage at light heavyweight in the UFC, nor was he able to capture the middleweight belt, even though he had two chances to fight Anderson Silva.
And the UFC fighters finding frustration in this match up aren’t incorrect in their sentiments, by any means. This should not be a bloodsport, fighters should not be forced to trash talk, and title shots should go to those with impressive winning streaks.
But in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately industry, any and everyone would be hard-pressed to find a light heavyweight that fits the bill.
Meanwhile, Sonnen, the quintessential company man, is merely being rewarded for what he has brought the UFC recently. He revamped the middleweight landscape and helped sell this year’s biggest event and he came within a round of defeating Anderson Silva (I know, you’re sick of hearing that).
But the biggest thing he has done for the UFC recently is stepping up on essentially no notice to fight Jones at UFC 151 to save the event. It’s hard to believe Sonnen truly thought that he would win that fight, and a loss to Jones would probably have meant that he would never fight for a UFC title ever again.
Sounds like the type of company man you make sure to reward at the end of the day.
Again, the frustrated fighters have a right to be upset, especially Henderson. But Sonnen plays the hand he’s dealt better than anyone in the sport.
And when it comes to the hand the UFC was dealt, Sonnen is a wildcard.
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