Time heals all wounds. So does staging a mixed martial arts (MMA) event that garners millions of dollars in revenue.
That's what the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) did last night (Sat., Sept. 22, 2012) with UFC 152: "Jones vs. Belfort" at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a show that did $1.9 million at the gate and no doubt hundreds of thousands of buys on pay-per-view (PPV).
The promotion, and those who run it, can thank Jon Jones for most of that.
Then again, it was Jones who cost the company millions of dollars after refusing to accept a short notice fight against Chael Sonnen, a decision that resulted in the complete cancellation of UFC 151 just eight days out. This, of course, angered UFC President Dana White so much that he went on what amounted to a smear campaign against "Bones," blasting the light heavyweight champion and his coach, Greg Jackson, at every turn.
Jones responded in kind and the two spent the weeks leading up to last night's event embroiled in a bitter and nasty feud.
That all came to a close when they met at the weigh-ins and buried the hatchet ... for now. Here's how the two described their meeting, which went "really well," in separate interviews.
"Jon's made some mistakes. He's going to be around for a long time. He's not going anywhere unless he does it to himself. I think as Jon continues to win more fights, continues to feel more comfortable with that belt and in his skin right now -- with who he he really is -- I think he'll be better all around -- publicly, his image, fighting. There are times when he just doesn't feel comfortable with who he is, which is kind of weird. He's a great fighter and he really is a good guy. We had a great talk yesterday. I'm not going to talk about anything we talked about yesterday. We both kind of shook hands as men and made a couple of agreements together that I will keep. Hopefully, he'll keep his and we'll have a great relationship."
"I think me an Dana are forever going to be a lot closer. We really got to talk to each other on a level of just two grown men, not a boss and an athlete. It was more about two adults, talking like adults. I got to express to him how I felt about what he said, he got to put me in his shoes and put me where he was at as the president of an organization. He really explained to me about the loss that he suffered. Neither one of us was necessarily apologetic about anything. We just came to a great understanding. He understands now who I am as a person and as an athlete and I understand who he is as the CEO of this company. I think we left with a mutual respect for one another and we'll have a much stronger relationship in the future."
All's well that ends well and UFC 152 ended about as well as possible for all parties involved. White and the UFC made a ton of money staging a solid event in a hot market, Jones retained his light heavyweight title with another finish, Belfort put up a strong effort and won't suffer a bit despite the loss (he probably raised his stock, actually), and fans went home happy.
Until next time when someone does something to piss someone else off and someone else goes off about it.