In the world of professional wrestling, the term “burying” refers to publicly embarrassing someone and lowering their stock. That is exactly what Dana White did to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and his trainer Greg Jackson during today’s teleconference. The UFC President had no shortage of words on the UFC 151 cancellation, specifically targeting Jones and Jackson.
According to White, he and Lorenzo Fertitta are “disgusted” with Jon Jones for refusing to take a late notice fight with Chael Sonnen. When asked if this situation will affect the champion’s UFC sponsorship, Dana, who immediately dubbed Jon Jones “The Face of The UFC” once Brock Lesnar retired, said he wasn’t sure and “was never a fan of that idea to begin with”. After announcing that Jones will rematch Lyoto Machida at the new UFC 151 on September 22, the irate president also touched on recent comments from Jones, who stated that he wouldn’t face Lyoto Machida for a second time because of the low buy-rate of their first bout. In what was a thinly veiled threat, the UFC President proclaimed “if Jon Jones doesn’t take that fight, we’ll have another press conference in a few hours and it won’t be good news.”
The outspoken president had even more to say about coach Greg Jackson, going off on several tangents that saw him refer to the well-respected trainer as “a f***ing sport killer … from another world,” and a “f***ing weirdo who shouldn’t be interviewed by anyone but a psychologist.” While Dana White has all the right in the world to be frustrated, the UFC President may just be going too far this time out, especially in relation to Greg Jackson. Jackson’s MMA is home to some of the foremost fighters in the sport for a reason. Publicly blasting a trainer for advising his client to do what’s best for him, is flat out unprofessional.
According to White, the decision to cancel the event came just an hour before the conference call began, which would explain why he was particularly ornery. Regardless of the fact that anyone who has ever seen one of his interviews knows how emotional Dana can be, White’s comments have effectively turned fans, select media outlets, and (more importantly) nearly an entire roster of UFC fighters against one of his biggest draws as well as his camp, which just so happens to be the most prominent team in the sport.
Jones, who was a polarizing figure to begin with, did himself no favors by essentially “killing an event” in the eyes of fans. Josh Barnett was persona non grata for almost two years after testing positive for steroids ahead of Affliction 3. While Jones remains an entirely different figure all together, standing as one of the most dominant fighters in mixed martial arts today, his choice coupled with the snipe job that was this afternoon’s press conference have effectively made him an outcast to much of the MMA community, just as Barnett was in 2009.
Realistically, this entire argument can be summed up in a few short sentences: Jon Jones made the right move as a fighter but the wrong move as a businessman. Dana White made a horrible decision in burying the face of his company, despite his right to be upset. Greg Jackson continued to do what’s best for his clients and was once again vilified for it.
Given the Draconian measures Zuffa has taken against camps like AKA and Golden Glory in the past, one can only hope there are no negative repercussions for the lesser-known fighters of Jackson’s MMA, who make up a large portion of the UFC roster.
Written by: Jesse Denis