Hey Maniacs, it's The General, Geno. This may be for one night only or it may not be, but Saturday Night's Mania Event is making its return. This is not a happy occasion, though. This is not a happy occasion at all.
You all know the situation by now, especially if you've been visiting our humble mixed martial arts (MMA) website. UFC 151, which was scheduled for Sat., Sept. 1, 2012, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been cancelled.
It started with a knee injury. Dan Henderson messed up his MCL during training and was forced to pull out of his scheduled light heavyweight title fight against champion Jon Jones. That led to Chael Sonnen getting a phone call to replace him, seeing as he was the only real option given the time constraints. He was willing, too, even offering to fly to "Sin City" to start the promotional tour right away.
But no. The champ refused the fight.
That's what led to the cancellation of the event and drew the ire of promotion President Dana White, who absolutely destroyed Jones in the media. The fans bought the company line and quickly joined the "bash Bones" party.
It got worse. Jones' next title defense was moved to the main event of UFC 152 against Lyoto Machida, the rightful number one contender. Then he turned that down, citing a lack of prep time. The powers that be asked Mauricio Rua to step up and he said no too.
Finally, Vitor Belfort, of all people, accepted and brought this insanity to a close. So we went from Jones vs. Henderson at UFC 151 over the Labor Day weekend to no UFC 151 at all to Jones vs. Belfort in Toronto at UFC 152.
And I'm pissed.
I'm pissed at Dan Henderson for getting injured. Moreover, I'm pissed that "Hendo" was reportedly injured weeks ago and decided not to tell anyone hoping he would be good to fight through it. He waited until the last minute to say anything and it helped lead to this modified clusterfuck.
I'm pissed at Jon Jones because he wouldn't accept a short notice replacement fight against Sonnen. What did he have to lose? The fight? He'll get a rematch. The belt? He can win it back in the rematch. Now, he's drawn the ire of his bosses, his sponsors, the few fans he had left, his contemporaries, and everyone in between.
He could have taken the fight, a match-up that isn't all that different than the one he was facing to begin with, against a guy who hasn't been training and normally fights at middleweight. He probably would have smashed Sonnen and quieted the trash talk that will likely never end now.
I'm pissed at the UFC for booking so many shows that its events are starting to resemble boxing cards; heavy on top, really light underneath. That's never been the appeal of the UFC. White himself has long touted his promotion's ability to entertain you from the curtain jerker to the headliner.
If that were true, they could have absorbed this hit and bumped the co-main event up and soldiered on. But no, they've oversaturated the market to the point that nothing feels special anymore and no one could possibly measure up with the time constraints they had.
I'm pissed at Dana White for cancelling UFC 151 and then blaming everyone but himself and his lofty goals for his organization. Ambition isn't a bad thing but they've stretched the limits of their employees so far that creative solutions have become nearly impossible. You know it's bad when the best opponent you can find for your dominant light heavyweight champion is a blown up middleweight who hasn't fought in the division in the last half decade.
I'm pissed at Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua for turning down title shots and giving us such a terribly uneven match-up between Jones and Belfort at a major PPV event that maybe eight people want to watch.
But most of all, I'm pissed because I don't really have any reason to be pissed at all.
How can I complain that UFC 151 was cancelled when I've been right out in front of the "too much MMA" train? How can I blame Henderson for training hard, getting hurt, and then trying to fight through it? How can I blame Jones for playing it smart and trying to do what's best for himself and his career? How can I blame White for getting upset when everything went south and he completely lost control of the situation? How can I blame Machida and Rua for looking out for number one?
I can't. I can't complain about all this, not really. Henderson is a man's man, Jones is trying his best to do what's right for him, White is a hothead who has made it work for him, and Machida and Rua are following Jones' lead. None of them are wrong for that.
Realistically, I'm wrong for expecting anything different. Jones doesn't owe me anything. Who am I to ask him to put his health and well being on the line for the sake of my entertainment and then get pissed when he doesn't? He made a decision that he believes is right, even if it's one I don't agree with.
That's perfectly fine.
UFC 151 has provided us a lesson in managing expectations. Jones is not a superhero and so I cannot expect as much. The same goes for Henderson, Machida, and Rua. White is a human being with flaws, most of which have been laid bare for all of us to witness time and again. I shouldn't expect him to act any other way than he has every time before.
You never know what's going to happen in this game.
And that's okay. Pissed or not.