Let the voices be heard!
When UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones decided to turn down a fight against Chael Sonnen on eight days' notice after an injury to his originally scheduled opponent, Dan Henderson, it affected much more than just himself.
With the Ultimate Fighting Championship's cancellation of UFC 151, the fighters on the preliminary card were the ones who were hit the hardest. They are the men who are clawing tooth and nail to gain a foothold in this sport, the men who are trying to make a living the hard way.
Fighters like Jeff Hougland, Charlie Brenneman and Daron Cruickshank, who were all slated to compete on the UFC 151 undercard, were taken aback by the UFC's announcement earlier today. Their quick emotional responses on Twitter proved it.
— Jeff Hougland (@JeffHougland) August 23, 2012
@jonnybones Can I at least get one of your new Nike T-shirts? I'll give it to my kid since I won't have any money for her school clothes.
Charlie Brenneman (@SpaniardMMA) August 23, 2012
Sorry kitty only food thats on sale for you now. That's ok you needed a diet anyway. RIP ufc151 pic.twitter.com/unY1VmlC— Daron Cruickshank (@Cruickshank155) August 23, 2012
Wanting to get to the bottom of the situation, Matt Bishop booked all three men for an appearance on Bloody Elbow Radio just hours ago to get their immediate reaction to the situation. You'll be stunned to see just how much the cancellation of UFC 151 affects not only each fighter's personal livelihood, but their friends and families as well.
We've got all the juicy quotes posted after the jump:
UFC lightweight Daron Cruickshank, who was set to fight Henry Martinez on the preliminary card
-On how the event cancellation affected him
"Another thing, I was expecting to fight. I was expecting money to come in and I spent a lot of money getting ready for this fight, a lot of money that I wouldn't have spent if I wasn't getting ready for a fight."
"When I'm getting ready for fights, I don't teach anybody. I'm not training anybody. So I'll have to get back on the horse and start training, doing personals, maybe teaching at other gyms and doing seminars. Whatever I can do. It's not gonna break me. I've got a ton of student loans that I'm paying off right now so that sucks. I'm just an up-and-comer. I'm not the main event so I just have to make it work."
-On the monetary implications of not fighting next weekend, including sponsorships:
"I'm a walking billboard and when I go out there, that's when you get paid. I don't have any sponsors that take care of me every month just to do it. That does suck. I'm missing out on probably about 30 grand not fighting. That sucks."
-On Jon Jones
"Money talks. It sucks that he ruined the whole card."
UFC welterweight Charlie Brenneman, who was expected to battle Kyle Noke in the first bout of the evening
-On how he's feeling right now:
"I've been through a lot of stuff in my career. The highs and lows, the ups and downs, the lefts and rights. I hate to say it but I'm almost not too surprised that this is happening to be honest. Behind the scenes stuff that we know about that fans don't know about. Fights falling through, possible match-ups happening, not happening but this definitely takes the cake as the suckiest thing that's happening to me in my career. There has been some other stuff, but it's kind of hard to take in."
-What his immediate reaction was to the news:
"This is my job. Imagine working six to eight weeks and your boss saying, 'Well, I'm not gonna be able to pay you for the last eight weeks so sorry about that.'"
-How the decision by Jones and the UFC affects his friends and family:
"I guess I'm kind of pointing the finger at Jon Jones and Greg Jackson but I don't know what they talked about behind closed doors. What people don't realize it trickles down to, I just got married, my wife just spent 600 bucks on a plane ticket. Her best friend just spent 600-700 bucks on a plane, a room. My parents spent money on a flight, a room. They booked a helicopter trip around the Grand Canyon."
-On the champion's obligation to accept the fight:
"Here's my biggest thing. Jon Jones was offered a fight on eight days' notice. It's a big situation. You're the champion of the world. Your risk is very, very high but guess what? You're in this sport. You became the best. When you're in the limelight, when you're Peyton Manning or these guys, there comes a level of obligation that you owe, you inherently owe as a famous sports figure. And what that is is that's maybe doing things sometimes that you may not want to do personally because you understand and you have the integrity to say that, 'You know what? I have to do this. I might not want to do this but I'm in a situation where I have to do this.' If fighting gets me a Bentley and I can drive around in a Bentley, I guaran-damn-tee ya that I'll fight anyone, anywhere, any time."
-On what he would have done in the same situation:
"If the UFC had called me up and offered me 100 grand to fight Jon Jones, I would have said 'Yes' in a heartbeat. In a heartbeat. It's so frustrating."
UFC bantamweight Jeff Hougland, who was slated to face Takeya Mizugaki on the preliminary card
-On how the decision to cancel UFC 151 affects him:
"I need that money. I've got bills to pay and stuff. It's not my only source of income but it's definitely one of the ways that I live. I need that. I won't get any sponsorship money now. I won't get any show money. Nothing. It's hard. It's a rough spot to be in but what do I do? I'm kind of just in a weird place right now."
-On his tweet directed at Jon Jones earlier today:
"It was a dig at Jon Jones. To say that I'm not upset about it would be a lie. Chael Sonnen offers to fight him, the dude is coming off a loss, eight days' notice, going up in weight and you're the champion. I like Chael Sonnen. I think he's cool, funny and great, but I can't see any way he beats Jon Jones. I just can't. Even if for some reason he landed a lucky punches and he beat Jon Jones, he'd get an instant rematch. People would forgive him if he fights on eight days' notice. You can't expect the greatest thing out of you. I understand he's trying to protect whatever he's got going but my daughter's gonna be fine. If I had to go get a job and flip burgers to make sure my kid was gonna be ok, that's what I am gonna do. I just wanted to let him know his decision affected a lot of other guys that are trying to get where he's getting. There was a time where Jon Jones was on the undercards and stuff like that I wonder how he would have liked it if Chuck Liddell or someone on a fight he was the undercard for said, 'Ehh, I'm not gonna fight.' It would be rough for him."
-On Jones' decision to turn down the fight:
"I never got a choice in who I'm fighting. They call, say what's going on and the day I need to be ready and that's what's happening. I don't argue. I guess if you're champ you get some options. I wasn't aware that that was an issue. I thought everybody, UFC, Dana told you who you were fighting and that's who you're fighting. Him being UFC champ, this event is riding on you. Step up."
-On what he would have done if in Jon Jones' situation:
"You've got everything stacked in your favor. You're bigger, [Sonnen] doesn't have time to train. He's a guy from a different weight class. It's not like he's going from Dan Henderson, the fighter with a big right hand to some other crazy striker, some completely opposite style, he's basically fighting Dan Henderson without the big right hand. I don't understand why his camp chose not to do that or why he chose not to do that. That's their issue. I don't see why it was such a big deal."
-On how the event cancellation affects his friends and family:
"This is probably the worst part for me and I've had horrible luck with this. I wouldn't be surprised if my people don't want to go to anything I tell them to again. I had guys book tickets to go to Washington D.C. and have me fight Mike Easton and six days before, I break my hand, have surgery and have to back out. I had buddies fly from California and Washington. Then I was set to fight Renan Barao at UFC 148 and people booked tickets to see me fight, then I get pulled to fight in Virginia. A lot of those people couldn't get their money back. Now, I tell them I'm gonna fight Mizugaki at UFC 151 and they all bought tickets and hotel rooms and that's not gonna happen. I'm trying to build a fanbase and a support system and stuff but I keep screwing them over with stuff like this. The injury thing, that was my fault and nobody to blame but me. We're not baking cookies, we're fighting and that stuff happens but as far as this fight being cancelled, it's probably gonna hurt me in terms of fan support. I had about 40 people planned to come out to this last show."
-On the career implications of this fight being cancelled
"Miguel Torres just got cut and he's a much bigger name than me. I'm coming off a loss and I'm figuring if I lose my next fight I'm getting cut. I was really trying to avoid a short notice fight. I don't want to jump out there and fight someone on a week or two, three week's notice and risk that but I guess I have to make a living too. I'll do what I have to do. I don't have much choice. If the UFC calls me, I'll fight."
Well there you have it.
Now that you've heard from fighters who desperately needed this event to go on as scheduled, what's your take on the Jon Jones situation? How can this problem be resolved?