Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will hold a media conference call today (October 17, 2012) to discuss the upcoming Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen fight which will take place next year (April 27, 2013).
The conference call updates and live blog will begin promptly at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Jones is the current UFC light heavyweight champion. He is widely considered one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, but came under intense scrutiny after turning down a short-notice fight against Sonnen, causing a domino effect which eventually led to the cancellation of UFC 151. "Bones" recently defended his title against Vitor Belfort at UFC 152, but injured his arm in the process.
Sonnen is a former two-time title challenger, having pushed Anderson Silva to the limit twice at UFC 117 and then again at UFC 148 before getting finished on both occasions. He's one of the best wrestlers in the sport today, but that's not what earned him this shot. It was his mouth. Sonnen's had Jon Jones square in his sights ever since announcing a move to the light heavyweight division and now he finally got what he wanted.
See how it all came to be right here. Now, on the the media call.
Brian Hemminger here. The conference call is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. ET
4:05 p.m. - We're getting started
Jon Jones: No, it wasn't the money. It really just had to do with getting over this chapter of my career. I'm trying to move forward and do a lot of amazing things. The UFC 151 cancellation, it was a tough moment for my career and I think beating Chael Sonnen and then after that beating Dan Henderson would help me add closure to that whole situation. It's just putting closure to the Chael Sonnen invasion of my career and the whole 151 situation.
Jon Jones: It doesn't have anything to do with whether or not I thought I could beat Chael. It was about handling my career in a professional manner. Taking a last minute fight to defend your world championship wasn't fair to me. I absolutely know I can beat Chael and I'm really confident I can win this fight. I'm a championship fighter and I really don't think Chael is a guy who knows how to win championships.
Jon Jones: They said I shouldn't be training for the next several months. It might be a little more difficult but I'll give it my best and I'm bringing in great coaches. They found small tears in my elbow and I'm excited to do rehab in Las Vegas with the UFC recommended therapists to get me back healthy.
Dana White: It depends how everything lines up, what big fights we can make and what injuries will or won't happen. We definitely are planning on doing a big fight in Cowboy Stadium. As soon as we feel we can make the big fight we feel we can sell close to 100,000 tickets.
Jon Jones: The biggest things I will try to get across to the guys I'm coaching is to be extremely passionate first and foremost. I will try to inspire them and be a good example. The other thing is to have the work ethic to back up that passion. Chael has passion with the way he talks but passion means nothing if you don't have the work ethic to back it up and that's what I want to show the fighters on my show.
Dana White: We got the word that Jon couldn't fight til April. It made sense to do The Ultimate Fighter. Machida can fight. Dan Henderson can fight. Gustafsson and Shogun are gonna fight in December so everything will keep right on moving. I'll let Jones speak for himself. Obviously Chael wants this fight and the fans wanted this fight. Jon said, "I can't fight til April and I'd like to go in there and whoop Chael's ass" and I'll defend the belt against whoever you tell me to defend it against. Whoever's next in line at 205 pounds can fight Jon Jones next for the title.
Chuck from FX: The show is going to move off of Friday nights. It's definitely moving to a week day. There will be an announcement on that somewhere in the next 30-45 days. I will say that Spike should watch their ass.
Chuck from FX: We were absolutely monitering the Friday situation and we want to see if there is a day that would work better for the show. Certainly with Jones and Sonnen as the coaches for this upcoming season we have probably the best casting that we've seen for this show and we have really high expectations as to what the ratings will be as the result. We have very, very big expectations for ratings.
Chael Sonnen: This is a means to the end. It's a tremendous nuisance. I don't want to go to Las Vegas. I live in West Lynn. This call is about the show, not Jon and I. This show is the biggest and toughest tournament that we have in teh sport. This isn't a four man tournament that gets spread over the course of a year. It's tougher than the NFL playoffs. This is no more reality TV than an NFL playoff or an Olympic sport. This is a tournament that's so tough that great fighters like Josh Koschkeck and Gray Maynard couldn't win it. This will put all those seasons to shame. There's a world champion if not more than one that's in these young men.
Dana White: The Finale will be at the Hard Rock. It premieres in Janurary and we're talking about New Jersey for the Jones fight but it isn't set in stone.
Dana White: I've said this before and I'll say it again. Dan Henderson had the opportunity for the fight and he got injured. Now Jones is injured. Everyone of these guys that are bitching about a title fight now were offered a fight and they turned it down. They refused to fight Jon Jones and now they're bummed out that Chael accepted a fight on 8 days' notice. These guys will do this, they'll fight and we'll have an absolute number one contender when Jones comes back.
Chuck from FX: Clearly Spike has been dogging us for most of this year with the launch of the two seasons of The Ultimate Fighter by creating viewer confusion and scheduling old episodes and puttiing them off as new content. They're going to try to have their own reality show that's similar to The Ultiamte Fighter. We watched how they behaved and we're well aware of their behavior and how they've acted competitively. We'll be watching what they schedule, how they schedule and where they schedule.
Chuck from FX: We want to put shows where they're gonna work best and we really believe in this product. We're huge fans of what Dana and Lorenzo have built over the last seven years and we want to find the best place for this product for it to work.
Chael Sonnen: Let's be clear. Nobody said Chael clearly doesn't deserve anything. Let's understand, not one of those fighters said "Hey Dana, I'll fight Chael." I called every one of those bastards out and I've got no problem slapping any one of them around including the Karate Kid. The only fighter to call Jon Jones out is me. Nobody calls me out and I never get hurt. They can whine all they want but not one of them has stepped up. They get jealous or envious of an opportunity but they never go out to the mound and make the call. I wanted it and I got it. I talked a cat out of a tree earlier today. At the end of it all, Ariel, good for me and chalk one more up for the bad guy.
Chael Sonnen: I think Jon Jones is the best fighter that I've ever seen. If I was to compare somebody, I would put Randy Couture above him but a lot of that is out of respect. He's got techniques taht I don't even know what they're called. He hasn't beat anybody until he beat me. He beat Bader, Shogun, that glorified Hollywood extra Rampage, Vitor. What's next, he's gonna fight Scott Ferrozo? I'm the man and that's because I say I'm the man. If anyone wants the spot, they can come and take it from me. Come do the heavy lifting boys, I'll be there.
Jon Jones: I just might (throw a hell of an afterparty) definitely in April.
Chael Sonnen: First off, I've been on both sides of an ass whoopin and that's something that Jon hasn't, but he's also fought a lot of guys that are timid and are afraid of a fight. I'm gonna walk out there and get in a fist fight. As much as I'll admit, he's better. Skill for skill, he's fantastic but I'm in better shape than him.
Jon Jones: You in good shape on TRT or off TRT?
Chael Sonnen: Let's get off this subject.
Jon Jones: I'm split between the middle. I think the belt should be a legit number one contender but without the fans, what are you? A couple months ago everyone was calling me a sissy and a wuss saying I wouldn't fight Chael Sonnen. I'm over whether he deserves it or not and it's more about what the fans want. They complain now but it's too late. I want to put the Chael Sonnen champion behind me. Does it deligitimize the belt, in some ways it does but Chael's not getting close to the belt and this is more about putting an end to his irrelevance.
Dana White: I think people that said that yesterday or the day before didn't know the whole situation. Now that the facts are out there it makes more sense. There's no clogging up the light heavyweight division.
Chael Sonnen: Who did he even beat? It's been a revolving door in that division since Chuck and Randy left. He's not the guy.
Jon Jones: Come on Chael. Chael, really?
Dana White: I need to dive in with what we're gonna do. I've got to start putting some other fights together for the rest of the light heavyweight divison. I'll start putting that together this week. I dont' know about Dan, that's the thing. We were talking about Dan Henderson trying to get him to fight again after his injury. They said it would only be a few weeks and he had to stay off it but then a few weeks later his knee wasn't ready. We had to pull the trigger and make decisions around here and if guys aren't ready to fight . I don't even know if Dan would do The Ultimate Fighter. It's a lot trickier than that. Getting shit done around here is a lot harder than it looks.
Chael Sonnen: The only thing that deligitimizes the title is the brat holding it.
Jon Jones: Chael's an interesting guy. I respect some things about him. He goes and gets what he wants except for world championships or any championships. He's a good talker and good for the sport in some ways. He's extremely disrespectful and not much of a championship level athlete at all. He'll be able to do his TV shows and commentating and all that. I'm doing Chael a favor by showing Chael what his true calling which is his gift of gab and not athletic talent.
Jon Jones: I've faced plenty of wrestlers like Vladimir Matyushenko, Jake O'Brien and Matt Hamill and had no problems. Chael is a decent wrestler. He was an Olympic alternate but he wasn't on the team. No disprespect to other alternates but he's not at that level. Who cares if he takes me down, he gets submitted all teh time from top position anyways. I've wrestled since I was a 14 year old boy and I still love wrestling. I'm definitely prepared. If he does take me down, so what? His ground and pound is weak and he gets submitted all the time. If I do get him down, his face will open up. I feel I have nothing to worry about in wrestling. I have a slight edge in jiu-jitsu and I have a huge edge in kickboxing. I'm not intimidated by his power. I don't see any way Chael can win this fight but I'll still train like a madman. I'm ready to lay the smackdown for the things he said not only for the things he said not just about me but about other people and send him back to the movies.
Dana White: When Diaz gets off suspension, he'll have a fight against one of the top contenders at 170 pounds, but we'll see what happens.
Dana White: The fact that people say this move was all about the ratings means this will probably do great ratings so I like it.
Chuck from FX: This season will be epic
Jon Jones: I think TRT is terrible. If you're gonna consider yourself an athlete. TRT would be perfect for Chael Sonnen if he wasn't one of the most difficult sports in world. Right now I'm 25 and I'm sure I'm not as happy-go-lucky as I was at 20. If I took a drug to make me like I was at 20, people would hate me.
Chael Sonnen: I don't have any comment on the topic.