Jon Jones successfully defended his UFC light heavyweight title for the second straight time in his young championship reign this past weekend (Dec 10, 2011) at UFC 140, which went down in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
He's been the first to do so since Chuck Liddell way back in 2006.
"Bones," displaying brute power, defeated Lyoto Machida in the second round of their title fight with an impressive standing guillotine, and in the process, proved why he is the most dominant UFC champion today. However, much of the buzz in the mixed martial arts (MMA) community surrounds what happened after referee John McCarthy pulled Jones off Machida.
Instinctively, Jones let Machida go, causing his lifeless body to drop to the canvas, smashing his face on the mat, and simply walked away.
Now, the great debate is all about sportsmanship.
Jones didn't do a back flip; he didn't stand on top of the Octagon and jump down in celebration. He simply and calmly walked away without a care in the world, as if saying, "Business as usual." He simply did what was expected of him and anything else would have been a disappointment.
However, some people viewed it as disrespectful; some even say it was boastful or to prove a point to his future opponents.
After the jump, I'll discuss whether or not Jon Jones was wrong for letting Lyoto Machida drop to the canvas after he finished him with a standing submission:
Jon Jones didn't drop Lyoto Machida out of malice or to showboat his impressive submission.
It was simply a heat of the moment instinct. In a fight, it is not his, or any other fighter's responsibility to lay his opponent gently down to the ground.
Would it be nice to see a fighter care for the well being of another and making sure he doesn't suffer a possible injury? Absolutely, but it's not always possible, it's not a requisite, nor should one be judged for not doing it.
Does it look good when you do it? Of course it does, sportsmanship is always a great thing to see in any sport, specifically combat sports.
Submission specialists usually, almost immediately, let go of the hold in order to prevent any further injury. It's jiu-jitsu 101, it's instinct.
However, in a fight, after going toe-to-toe with another human being, one can't be faulted for his opponent dropping to the canvas after letting go of a submission hold when instructed to do so by the referee.
In a sport where a fighter is allowed to jump on his opponent and follow up with punches to make sure he is out for the count (see Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping) until the referee pulls him off; Jones shouldn't be criticized for simply letting go of a choke hold that caused his opponent, who was out cold, drop to the canvas.
Many times, there have been brutal one-punch knockouts that have caused a fighter to fall and hit his or her head on the mat, it's a hazard of the job. It's MMA and things like this happen more often than not and will continue to happen.
To quote a phrase from Jones' trainer Greg Jackson:
"You can dress it up, you can put lipstick on it, you can do whatever you want but at the end of the day it's a fight and when they tell you to let go, you let go."
At the moment, Jon Jones is on the brink of being the UFC's new poster boy, the new superstar that will lead UFC and mixed martial arts into the future. Jones is not necessarily a fan favorite, received by boos at the UFC 140 weigh-ins and at the UFC 140 event itself and has often been criticized for his "cocky" attitude that he at times portrays.
So it begs the question, is Jones getting a fair shake for what happened after the fight, because, well...he's Jon Jones and are people just looking for a genuine reason to really dislike him? Or was he out of line?
What's your take?