Josh Koscheck-Diego Sanchez, B.J. Penn-Nick Diaz, Anderson Silva-Vitor Belfort and heck, Conor McGregor-Diego Brandao. The list of intense Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) staredown encounters is long, extensive and anything but distinguished.
In each of those encounters, however, punches were never thrown. The stages on which they mean-mugged each other didn't crumble. And for heaven's sake, company officials weren't steamrolled, while the general public in attendance -- including women and children -- for a "fan-friendly" event weren't endangered.
That all changed earlier this afternoon when Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones and his opponent at UFC 178, Daniel Cormier, got into an amazingly insane scuffle ahead of of their title match on Sept. 27, 2014. To watch complete video highlights of pandemonium running wild recklessly inside MGM Grand Garden Arena's LOBBY in Las Vegas, Nevada, earlier today click here.
While UFC officials tried to wrap their heads around the unprecedented incident, including vacationing company president Dana White, who joked that it was a "perfect" public relations disaster (albeit likely promising for ticket sales), there were real questions as to whether or not Jones and Cormier would be punished for their unsanctioned, unprofessional melee.
Several hours later, with the dust seemingly settled, it appears we now have an answer via UFC's Chief Legal Officer, Kirk Hendrick:
"This is certainly not a proud moment for the UFC organization. We expect more from our athletes, especially these two gentlemen, who are very well-trained and highly educated professionals. Their actions were clearly a violation of the UFC's code of conduct. The Nevada State Athletic Commission has requested a video copy of the incident, and the UFC is cooperating fully with them in order to come to a quick resolution when it comes to possible penalties for both fighters.... We are going to reserve our right to penalize both fighters after the commission has made a decision. We expect more from our athletes and we are prepared to levy sanctions to reinforce the appropriate behavior. There are going to be ramifications. Whether you're the champion, or this is your first fight in the UFC, there are going to be ramifications from the UFC for these actions."
Moments after Jones and Cormier nearly incited a riot, the pair appeared on ESPN's "Sportscenter" (watch it here) to continue promoting their match, as well talk about what the hell happened in "Sin City" this morning. Jones was in full damage "con-troll" mode, apologizing, but pretending as if nothing major really went down.
That's clearly not the case, with NSAC looking to get involved in addition to punishment from UFC. Regardless of what happens, let's just all hope it was worth it once fight night rolls around.
It better be fucking great.