Pictured: Greg Jackson (L) Jon Jones (middle) and Mike Winkeljohn (R). Photo by Esther Lin for MMAfighting.com
In mixed martial arts' (MMA) twisted version of Lebron James' "The Decision," the finger has been pointed toward Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, as the reason combat sports fans won't be getting their fight fix this weekend.
The blame, however, can be spread out in many different ways, according to how you see view it. Greg Jackson -- the head trainer for "Bones" down in Albuquerque, N.M., has received his share of fault, too.
Labeled a "sport killer" by UFC President Dana White, the famed trainer has been met with criticism and backlash for giving his student his own opinion on why taking a bout with Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 on short notice might not be in the best interests of his prospering career.
Ultimately, Jackson and Co. came to the conclusion that three days, as Jackson says, was simply not enough time to prepare for a new opponent ... especially one the "caliber" of Sonnen.
Standing by his team's decision and now a few days removed from the whole ordeal, the "Gaidojutsu" mastermind believes the choice they made was indeed the correct one because they want to come at fights "professionally." And states the team isn't exactly doing anything "out of the ordinary," seeing as how Lyoto Machida turned down a title fight with Jones with more time to prepare, too.
Make the jump to see the comments Jackson made on his recent appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"Absolutely. Taking a fight on three days' notice, basically, I know everybody says eight days, but you're really not training that last week. So, three days notice against an opponent of that caliber, for me, it's not a good idea. And it's not unprecedented. I mean, it's not like were the only one that did it. Like, we point out, pretty consistently, Lyoto, very wisely I felt, turned the fight down on three weeks' notice. It's not unheard of. It's not like were doing this incredible new thing that had never been done before. It was done a day or two after. Again, it's nothing out of the ordinary, I should say, but what is out of the ordinary is all the emotion that happened there and I think that's just because everybody was frustrated."
Jackson went on to clarify that Jones, as well as his camp, are not afraid to go toe-to-toe with anyone, as long as there is a "reasonable" amount of time to prepare for the fight:
"I guess the opponents really don't really matter to me because I consider we have to fight everyone as long as we do it in a way that's reasonable. As long as it's reasonable, the opponent doesn't matter too too much. We don't really have a No. 1 contendership position. We kind of have a vague sense of it. It's kind of hard for me to say 'yay' or 'nay' on that stuff. Again, the UFC is very good at matchmaking. That's one of the things they do incredibly well. As long as there's a reasonable amount of time in a professional sport for the biggest title in the world besides the heavyweight title. It's a huge title and a huge sport. We just want to come at it professionally."
"No, I think, like I said, everybody's emotions kind of got the better of them, not just Dana, but a lot of people. Fighters, too. I think that's reasonable. Listen, Dana is very, very good at what he does. He is the best in the world. You need that fire. The same thing that makes him emotional also gives him the fire too, you know; to knock on these executives doors when people are turning him down time after time. From fighting to get us legalized here and there, you need that fire. Kind of the flip side of that fire can be when things don't go your way, you get mad. But, I don't hold that against him for myself. You have to have that passion and you have to have that fire. It can go out of control or it can flash a little bit. But, if he didn't have that fire, we might not be where we are today because it gets discouraging, you know, time after time. Remember, the UFC wasn't always like this. It took someone to really get in there and fight and fight and (not) get discouraged and get up again and fight and fight to get it to where we are. That's why I'll never say a bad thing about Dana. Sometimes that stuff comes out as a negative and if I have to bear the brunt of it, that's what I have to do. No, not at all, (ill will towards Dana), for the reasons I stated before. He is a passionate fiery guy and I am not the type of guy to takes that kind of stuff personal."
Jackson will now focus his attention on getting Jones prepared for a different beast altogether as the 205-pound kingpin will now face Vitor Belfort in the new headlining bout at UFC 152 on Sept. 22, 2012, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Kill 'em with kindness, fellas.