What should have been an interesting fight between a legend and rising one has turned into a media circus in less than 3 hours. Reactions from MMA fans are mixed (as expected), those that always hated Jones to begin with have just gotten another reason to hate him, those that like him are left disappointed and every MMA fan is left feeling a little robbed. Dana has put the blame squarely on Jones and his coach Greg Jackson; while his frustration (and that of many of us is understandable) I think that a lot of the critical reactions are a bit unfair (the haters that want to call me a Jones nut hugger can start now).
We have to keep things in perspective, in sports like MMA preparation and mental readiness are everything and Jones spent months preparing to fight Hendo. Even though Sonnen has not fought at Light heavyweight in years he is still one of the most dangerous wrestlers in the sport of MMA and 8 days are not nearly enough to prepare for someone like that even for fighters like Jon Jones. If anything this brings up some points that i feel Zuffa and Dana White should consider:
1) Always have a back up plan: Injuries ravaged countless cards in the past months and have cost the UFC millions in potential revenue, the most logical solution would be to have one or two marketable opponents always waiting in the wings or at least kept in consideration in the event of an injury or disqualification due to steroids use or violations (Hi Reem). There are plenty of young up and coming Light heavyweights that would have made good replacements (A- gus comes to mind and a few others) even if they say no at first, money talks.
2) Stack the cards a little more: The heavyweight showdown between Reem and JDS was one of the most stacked in recent memory and when Overeem got disqualified they were able to get Mir as a replacement while keeping a fairly stacked card. This should be implemented more often, combining the best fighters from different promotions in one card would be better than trying to sell a fight simply with the main event, this isn't the Tyson/Lesnar era where one fighter could guarantee a ton of buys, they should start thinking of putting intriguing match ups in one card instead of spreading them around in mediocre cards while trying to sell lower weight class fighters as main events (even though I feel some of them do deserve main event status)
3) Call Matt Hammil.
I don't have too many other ideas but I don't think it's fair to blame Jones or Jackson, they were stuck between a rock and a hard place, had this happened last month I think they would have taken the fight but not many smart fighters would be ready for Sonnen's wrestling on 8 days notice.