Esther Lin for Strikeforce
Is the booking of Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen bad for the sport of MMA? Dan Henderson seems to think so.
When Dan Henderson lost his opportunity to face current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 151 due to injury, many expected "Hendo" to be next on deck as soon as he was healthy and ready to go.
But that was simply not the case.
After "Bones" defeated Vitor Belfort at UFC 152, UFC President Dana White dropped the shocking announcement that Jones would next face Chael Sonnen, Dan's friend and former training partner, for the title after their coaching stint on season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
Like most of the mixed martial arts (MMA) community, Henderson was a bit surprised at the move, taking to his Twitter account to say he should just quit training for fights and enroll to "shit talking school" in order to earn his shot at UFC gold.
Not that he's upset at Chael, far from it, if anything, he commends "The American Gangster" for stepping up and taking the fight when seemingly no one, who wasn't injured, would take the bout.
The thing that has the former PRIDE multi-division champion upset is the matchmaking by Zuffa.
"Hendo" appeared on "The MMA Hour" today (Oct. 31, 2012) and said though he understands Dana is doing what he has to do to salvage the struggling TUF series, the booking of Sonnen vs. Jones hurts the sport:
"I absolutely think it was a bad decision for the sport. It just makes the sport lose a little bit of integrity. I understand that [Dana White] does what he does for the UFC and always has, first and foremost. He tries to accommodate the fighters as he can, but it's more about saving the ratings on The Ultimate Fighter show, and I understand that."
Not one to sit and sulk, Henderson is now setting his sights on another opponent as he is expected to face former 205-pound champion Lyoto Machida, who also lost his opportunity at a rematch against Jones, passing on his chance a few months ago citing timing issues, sometime in 2013.
Though not confirmed, the light heavyweight collision is expected to take place on Feb. 2, 2013 at UFC 156 at the promotions annual Super Bowl weekend event in Las Vegas, Nevada which currently features a headlining bout between UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo taking on former 155-pound champion, Frankie Edgar.
Should "Dangerous Dan" get passed "The Dragon," it's still not certain whether or not he will be next in line for a shot the 205-pound strap. A victory, however, will not hurt his chances.
Anyone out there agree with Henderson on this one? Is the booking of Jones vs. Sonnen hurting the sports integrity?