Apr 21, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Jon Jones before fighting Rashad Evans in the main event and light heavyweight title bout during UFC 145 at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE
You had to expect it, really, seeing as how the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, along with Vitor Belfort, Michael Bisping, Brian Stann, Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez, were on hand for today's (Sept. 20, 2012) UFC 152 pre-fight press conference to answer questions from the media in advance of the upcoming UFC 152 event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
This time, the 205-pound titleholder was met with the question of whether or not UFC officials indeed informed him of the pending cancellation of the UFC 151 event, if he were to turn down a last-minute fight against middleweight Chael Sonnen.
Which, as a result, ended up costing the promotion millions of dollars.
Now, Jones, who has been met with an unprecedented amount of scorn from the mixed martial arts (MMA) community for his decision to veto a bout against the former two-time number one 185-pound contender, reveals he was never informed by anyone that the event would ultimately get canceled based on his decision.
With the past being just that, the past, Jones believes a lot of ‘positive' will be had from the unfortunate situation and says a good performance against Belfort Saturday night might help erase the memory that is UFC 151.
Check out his comments, after the jump:
"As far as the 151 situation, I definitely really feel horrible about the way it all played out. At the end of the day, I'm hoping the fans opened their mind about the situation and realize I'm not a UFC executive. I have absolutely zero the power to cancel the event. When I was talking to Dana and Lorenzo about accepting the Chael Sonnen fight, they never told me that if I didn't accept the fight they would cancel the event. So, I definitely got all the blame placed on me for not taking a last-minute championship fight. At the end of the day, being a world champion, I dedicated my whole life to this. Through all the wrestling tournaments, getting pinned, my whole life, camps and everything. Everything has led me to this point, so to put my belt on the line to satisfy the people around me, it sounds selfish, but when you work so hard for something, you owe it to yourself to protect it. I did what was right for myself and I trained for the Vitor Belfort fight. I'm grateful that I did turn down that fight because now I get to fight for you guys here in Canada. I do believe that with a good performance that it'll be behind me. For the people who actually bought tickets to the fight, I apologize to them for not being able to see the fight. I think it's pretty awesome if you own one of those UFC 151 tickets, I would like to have one for myself. It's kind of monumental in a way. I believe a good performance will help people forget and for the people who refuse to forget, I don't' know what to say about that, but life is about moving afford. I think this whole situation will bring me and the UFC closer. I think we will have a better level of respect for each other. I think it's going to be healthy for fighters in the future to know their rights A lot of positive is going to happen from this. I'm going to go out their and perform well and I do believe the fans are going to get over it."
Hindsight being 20/20, Jones says even if he was told about the pending cancellation, he isn't too sure it would have much a big difference in his decision to turn down a fight against "The American Gangster."
"I don't really know if it would have made much of a difference if they had told me, but they didn't tell me they were going to cancel the fight. They asked me to put my whole livelihood on the line. I train five times a day and being the champion, it means more to me than it means to any fan, it means more to me than what it means to Dana White. If I would have somehow lost that fight, Dana wouldn't have lost any sleep over it. Life would have gone on and I would have been the one stuck out there. So, I don't know if it would have made much of a difference. Ultimately, why wasn't that a good enough card? What was wrong with that card? Why did it have to be cancelled? I watch bar fights. I love fight at all levels. I think it was more of an insult to the fighters on the card, pretty much saying they weren't good enough to host the card without me and Henderson. At the end of the day, I would have done what was best for my career and I can't really carry the weight of what happened because it really wasn't my thing. I showed up to fight."
White recently revealed that he and his 205-pound champion, Jones, would have a sit-down in Canada to clear the air and resolve their issues. Ironically, White wasn't present at the conference due to travel issues, however, Jones did inform the fans and media in attendance that their meeting is set for tomorrow before the weigh-ins.
How about it Maniacs, does this revelation from Jones that he had zero knowledge of a pending cancellation, change your opinion on him and his decision?