Why Does Chael Sonnen Get to Fight Jon Jones? “Because He Stepped Up,” Says Dana White

October 17, 2012
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UFC president Dana White at UFC 146If you are a UFC light heavyweight fighter complaining about the recently announced Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen fight… talk to the hand.

The hand of UFC president Dana White, that is.

While many people, fighters and fans alike, have been perplexed at the UFC’s decision to slot in Jones and Sonnen as coaches for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter and then have Sonnen fight for the title in April of 2013, White has a simple explanation.


“We got the word, after Jon went out and got his elbow checked, that he was out and couldn’t fight until April,” explained White on Wednesday. “So it made sense for him to do The Ultimate Fighter. Machida can fight, Dan Henderson can fight; Gustafsson and Shogun are gonna fight in December, so everything will keep right on moving (in the division).

“Obviously Chael wants this fight, has been asking for this fight. The fans wanted this fight.

“Jon said, ‘I can’t fight until April. I’d like to go in there and whip Chael’s ass and then I’ll defend the belt against whoever you want me to defend the belt against.’ So it made sense.”

Still, many are going to point to the fact that Chael Sonnen has not fought at 205 pounds in the past half decade, is not a contender in the division, and should not be able to “talk his way” into a title shot.

Again, White would point to the timing, and the fact that several other fighters had their opportunity and when the UFC needed someone to step up, Sonnen was the man to answer the call.

“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Dan Henderson had the opportunity for the fight and he got injured, right? He got injured, now Jones is injured until friggin’ April,” said White.

“Every one of these guys that are bitching about a title shot now, we’re offered a fight and turned it down. They refused to fight Jon Jones. Now, they’re bummed out because Chael stepped up on eight-days notice and he’s gonna coach The Ultimate Fighter and fight him.”

For White, the equation is quite simple. The best time to make hay is when the sun shines.

“All the top contenders that are pissed off that Chael Sonnen has a title shot are the same guys that I called that turned down fighting Jon Jones.”

Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for all of your UFC news and updates.

  • Richurd Cheese

    Still doesn’t make any sense…

  • Jimd

    UFC has become a joke. More and more like WWE.

    • I agree 100%,,, machida was smart not to take the fight on such short notice.. he knew if he lost again he would never get that chance again.. Nothin but a Money grab

  • Jon

    When did Hendo turn it down? He gets bumped back because of injury. But Overeem keeps his shot coming off a roid suspension. Yea..makes tons of sense.

  • J. Pitts

    Oh it makes a ton of sense. It’s a business. Chael/Jones makes more money than any of those matchups. TUF has been struggling in ratings, these two will give the show the shot in the ass it needs. I wasn’t happy about it at first, but Sonnen/Jones makes a lot of sense when you think about it, and it’s not like Sonnen is a damn slouch in the MMA realm.

    And don’t act like you won’t tune in, this is going to be one of the bigger PPV’s of 2013.

    • TandmWarElephant

      I agree **** maybe it shouldn’t be for a title but otherwise both fighters want to fight and with the exception of the “fans” on this site this would bring a huge audience! And how can you be a fan and not want to see this fight? I mean geese, yea we can all sit here and argue who deserves to get the next shot but **** that is some bull**** if you would want to see hendo or machida fight bones instead of sonnen PURELY because of the ratings… Like seriously I am a fan! I love to see great fights! a lot of the “fans”:on here should really step away from their mighty keyboards and just be what they claim to be? fans! support the ufc and watch these great fights! No im not on danas nutsack or whatever anyone will say I’m just a fan of mma love ufc love bellator strikeforce is starting to get some good fighters and one fc puts on some great fights!

  • Mario

    Oh shut up Dana!

    If a 19 year old kid off the street offered to fight Jones would you give him the shot just because no one else wants to fight him?

    Jones has destroyed most of the top guys already, so, do you think these ‘same’ individuals want to just jump back in there with Jones?

    When fighters lose to a dominant opponent, their approach will be VERY different the second time around. You can’t blame guys for wanting to be ready Dana. By saying things like: “Every one of these guys that are bitching about a title shot now, we’re
    offered a fight and turned it down. They refused to fight Jon Jones,” you make it sound like your fighters are pu**ies.

    Jones is going to humiliate Chael once again, much like Anderson humbled him. Once that happens, please, enough with this Chael Sonnen drama.

    I’m a REAL fan Dana, and no, I DID NOT WANT TO SEE THIS FIGHT! You’re absolutely wrong.

  • Completely agree with you Dana. Great decision. Best TUF ever. Great buildup and fight in April. Awesome. I am a real fan, b the way, and have watched since 1993.

  • Oswald Cobblepott

    After this fight Sonnen becomes irelevant

    • Prince James

      If that were only true. But he will just talk more crap and drop down to middleweight and fight GSP for the title because he stepped up and that’s what the fans want.

  • diazfan209

    this really is a steaming pile of hogshit

    dana white is taking what happened (ufc 151) as a means to give reason to why sonnen is getting the fight

    “because he stepped up”, yeah stepped up back in september for a replacement bout….. the next title fight is happening 7 months later from when “he stepped up” so how in the hell is that still relevant?

    dana white needs to man up and simply admit that it is a higher draw than hendo and that’s why it’s happening & stop defending his warped logic because it makes zero sense contender wise while making total sense business wise

    • Tommy Blingshyne

      this guy gets it…my exact thoughts

    • Prince James

      Exactly. TUF ratings have been flat and what better than Chael Sonnen to beaf them up. I think Dana has been cooking this up for a long time. BTW, Who was asking for this fight?

  • Marcus Miles

    It is like WWE, Dana had a meeting with Vince McMann around that same time bj penn a kos were putting out videos about how pist they were that their interviews for up coming fights were scripted to bring fake conflict. Since then this sport has been a soap opera. And by the way, what fans is Dana talking about in regards to wanting this fight to happen. Seems like everyone including myself thinks this fight is pretty wack. I bet it flops and someone gets hurt ice skating or something.

  • Clizzark

    LOL at Dana’s lameass excuses. Man up and say you’re doing it simply because of ratings/PPV buys. Only the ignorant sheep buy into your bullshit.

    • Tommy Blingshyne


  • Master of Everything

    WTF do you all want. Do you want Hendo to wait out until April. That is stupid. Lyoto needs to fight again to re establish himself and Hendo needs a fight to get his knee back. I wouldnt want to fight Jones after coming off injury. Shogun barely beat Vera. Gusta isnt even ready. Face it. Jones is to blame not DW, not Sonnen. Jones doesnt want to re fight all these guys and Hendo would get destroyed if the first fight back is JJ. Rampage said the JJ is the kind of guy you have to fight twice. Pfft come on. If I fight someone enough times I could win too.

    • Tommy Blingshyne

      actually yes…let hendo wait for bones…both are injured and need to heal…machida should fight sonnen in the meantime…that would have been the fair thing to do

    • obuchons

      How about Glover Texeria? The guy who has won his last 17 fights in a row at LHW! Dana could have at least had Sonnen fight him to set up a #1 contender! They could have fought while Jones heals? Oh yeah I forgot it is only about money now NOT mma! Hello Boxing!

  • j-Money

    I GUARANTEE Every single one of you complaining are relatively new to the sport.. You guys just don’t get it!! You weren’t watching back in the days of Tim Sylvia fighting Gan Magee on some of the worst cards you could imagine..
    The sport is thriving because of DANA freaking WHITE!!. Yes, he is the man who has put everything he has into this sport.. You kids really have no respect!
    Plus, you will ALL be watching TUF and the fight in April..
    We all know that.. Fan since 95.. Fan Forever!!

    • Tommy Blingshyne

      youre an idiot…most of us prob. grew up in the early 80s and transitioned from WWF as kids to the UFC in the early 90s once we get a little older…been a fan of the UFC since the very 1st event and ordered it on PPV back in 93…i love what the UFC has become since those barbaric no holds barred days…the product is so much better now…but what the **** does that have to do w/ the decision to give sonnen a title shot? explain the connection? its complete and utter horse ****…this is a blantant money grab and you fell for it hook, line and sinker…shame on you…this isnt some noble gesture by the UFC…this is **** everyone who deserves a title shot…we want this money…simple as that…dont insult my intelligence and twist the story around…this ruins the legitimacy of the sport…all that hard work over the years to build it up and now the UFC is losing the plot and ruining it…

    • obuchons

      Agree and disagree! Agree he has done a ton for MMA! But sometimes the things he does do not go along with the things he does! I will watch the TUF show but I will NOT pay 55$ to Jones destroy this bozo in 1/2 rounds!

  • julian moran

    Let us state facts:
    1) Chael is coming off a loss.
    2) Of his recent wins, Chael really got dominated by Bisping. Thus really should be 2-3 for his last 5 fights.
    3) His last fight at LHW was in 2005, and was a loss.

    Chael has no business fighting for the lhw title.

    Did Dana not promise the fans that there was no way, Sonnen would talk his way into fighting for the LHW belt? Did the same fans already forget?

  • julian moran

    The excuse that Chael is the only fighter who stepped up for the fight is pure bullshit. Chael did step up for the challenge on short notice, for he knew his best chance to beat Jones was to fight an unprepared Jones. He also knew it would bring him many new fans and much extra money.
    Shogun and Machida may have not stepped up to Jones with only a few weeks notice, but they both and many other more deserving opponents would fight Jones after a regular training camp. Thus, under current conditions, there are no reasons why Sonnen should be first in line for the title shot.
    Dana then says that both Shogun and Gustafsson allready have a fight, well so did Chael and Griffin.
    At the end of the day, Dana just gives title shots to people he likes vs to people who deserve it.

    • Prince James

      The Shogun fight is in early December. Why couldn’t the winner be next to fight Jones. Nope makes sense for Chael to bypass logic and get a title shot.

  • insane187288

    Gentlemen we all need to realize tbst sonnen was the only fighter to present a challenge to the best fighter in the world, we also forget hendo lost one title shot just to get another. Chael could have the worse record ever but brought IT when it came to silva, again he has brought it to another champion. Everyone realize he may not deserve a title shot at lhw but he did step up. Win or lose, again, chael is the best “fighter” for the sport. Everyone wants to see him loose…as an avid UFC fan i truly think we have a new champ

  • Rob

    Just a few thoughts on this. Dana White said the reason Chael got the fight was because Jones had an injury and couldn’t fight till April. He claimed he didn’t know what was going on with Hendo’s injury. And because the fans wanted this fight. As far as Chael stepping up, well I think Dana wasn’t using that to justify Chael’s selection. To me it seemed that Dana was bringing that up to silence some of the fighters who were complaining because they backed down when they had their chance.

    This has a lot (if not everything) to do with ratings on TUF and of course pay per views. I haven’t watched TUF in years but I will this year for one reason: Chael. No one can sell a fight like Chael. Everyone with a pulse knows that. Jon Jones will make more money fighting Chael Sonnen than he could fighting anyone else. From a business standpoint Chael should be paid more than Jones and Jones knows it. Jones wanted this fight and I’m pretty damn sure money was a factor.

    Ultimately, what brings more eyeballs to the show is good for the UFC. One fight that is based on ratings more than merit won’t kill the integrity of the sport. But a ratings bonzana will only help. Dana did his job: promotion. He doesn’t need to apologize for it either. Everyone whining about Chael will probably watch the fight anyway. And that’s all that matters.

    And you can’t blame Chael for using what he’s got to get ahead. He’s in his mid thirties; its now or never. He played the game the best he could and he got the gig.

    The UFC is just entertainment so just relax and enjoy the show. Save your indignation for more important things.

  • Danny L.

    Aside from who deserves what I for one am not interested in seeing Chael fight anymore and I suspect there are many like me. After the ramp up to Silva and then him getting his ass kicked .. all of his BS WWE like talk.. I am done paying a dime to see him. Sadly this will backfire on the UFC but when greed rules the day that is how it goes. Stupid is as stupid does. I used to get all of the UFC pay-per-views but not anymore… I have become very selective with my PPV dollar and Chael gets none. I also don’t like it that Henderson is not being show proper respect so hopefully the UFC will make right by him.

  • stevemcz11

    When Jones got his title shot he was a nobody. His toughest fight had been Ryan Bader. At least everybody has heard of Chael and hes fought Anderson Silva. This is a step backwards in competition for Chael considering his last two fights

  • Tommy Blingshyne

    this fight will be illegally streamed just off general principle

  • Cristian Feliz

    Let me guess so after he looses to Jone, he’ll go down to 170 and fight GSP? what a joke! Dana white is a frisking joke!

  • Bweave

    All you guys talking **** that he doesn’t deserve the title this quick are probably the same guys that love Anderson silva right?? Anderson silva had 1 fight in the UFC before he got a titleshot, but I don’t see u bitching about that! So stfu

    • obuchons

      Anderson Silva had not lost his last 2 fights! I know if you watched the Bisping fight you know he lost that fight! Even though the judges gave it to him so it did not mess up Whites plans!

      • Prince James

        Chael is 5-3 in the UFC. 4 wins by decision and 1 by tko. YEP, he deserves it. Anderson had credibility coming into the ufc and ko’ed Leben for a title shot. Who did Chael beat to get Jones. I will wait for an answer. Still waiting.

    • lolololwow

      Your a idiot bweave. Seriously? that was a different era then.. Silva fought chris freaking leben. Who was consider the “number 1” contender than.. Destroyed him.less in a min.. Than fought franklin.. destroyed him also.. Twice…Everyone thought it would be a easy win considering his consecutive wins for rich then. Plain and simple consider yourself a dumbass and a sonnen nuthugger.

  • Bweave

    Anderson only had two wins straight and only one UFC fight before his title shot!! Start complaining about that all you newbie UFC fans. Stop hating on chael

    • Prince James

      That’s your defense for Chael. I don’t hate Chael but do you really believe he deserves it. Chael is 5-3. 4 wins by decision. So talking crap, that no one believes, gets you title shots now. Come on, really. It used to be some what based on results. BTW I don’t agree with Edgar fighting Aldo either.

  • obuchons

    What White meant to say was he gets to fight Jones because this is the way I make the most money!

  • bajafox

    “All the top contenders that are pissed off that Chael Sonnen has a title shot are the same guys that I called that turned down fighting Jon Jones.”

    That says it all right there. I’m not even a big Chael fan but the fact that all the “top” 205ers turned down a shot when they had the chance bitched out are now complaining is fuggin hilarious.

  • awalter19

    According to all of you nobody deserves anything in the ufc. So sit back, shut-up and enjoy the tuf series, the lhw title fight, and Jon Jones being champ for a really long time!

  • adam1848

    From a business perspective, this makes perfect sense. From a sports fan’s perspective, I believe it is crap. And anybody who says their opinion is more valid because they have been a fan longer than other people needs to get off their high horse. I’ll admit it, I didn’t care for the UFC back in the early days of hair pulling and nut shots and headbutts. For me personally, that was not appealing. So just because I’ve been a fan for 6 or 7 years rather than 16 or 17 means my opinion is less valid? That is absurd. And just because Dana worked his ass off to build this sport doesn’t mean he is infallible. He put this fight together because TUF needs it and because the PPV will be profitable. Dana has admitted that the thing he is most proud of is the FOX deal, and he doesn’t want TUF to become a liability for the network. Look at how good the next FOX card is? It is 10 times better than the average PPV. I’ll admit I don’t like Chael and that is a big part of why I’m pissed about this match up, but even more than that is the FACT that Dana said “Chael is not going to talk his way into this fight, he is going to have to earn it” and yet here we are. I believe Chael stepped up because he knew he would probably never get a title shot if he had to go through a top 5 LHW to get there. Maybe I am wrong, but now we will never know, because he didn’t even have to. Dan Henderson earned his shot by going to war with a former LHW champ for 5 rounds. If Chael had done the same, none of us “haters” would have a leg to stand on. Dana went back on his word, he put money ahead of integrity, and once again he is making excuses rather than admitting the truth which we all can plainly see…this fight is profitable, TUF needs a boost, and Chael is a bigger draw than other (more deserving) fighters. Period.

  • MuayThaiFood

    I’ll step up and fight Jones. It’s the only way I’ll ever get the chance to fight him because I’m not even in the UFC. I know I’ll get my ass kicked but I’ll probably survive and I could use the huge paycheck to pay off my ex. The betting line might be more tilted than Sonnen/ Jones but the end result will be the same.
    I’m so sick of hearing how Chael stepped up. These guys that “turned down the fight” earned the right to fight for the title and not to do it at a disadvantage of not having a full camp. Chael has nothing to lose so “stepping up” isn’t about helping out the UFC or doing it for the fans. It’s about what’s good for Chael. On it’s merit this matchup makes about as much sense as me vs Jones. The only difference is the money.

    Hendo is pissed but what did he expect from his Team (f*** your buddy) Quest team member. Chael and Matt Lindland are two peas in a pod.

    • Prince James

      At least you are not coming off a loss like Chael. You’re in.

      • MuayThaiFood

        Crap, thanks, I never even considered that. I’m more deserving than Chael!

  • Dying

    What ever happened to the number one contender getting the shot? Surely Chael Doesbt qualify he is no even ranked. I will watch just to see chael’s roid injecting ass get beat, but I sure wont he paying for this one. It’s as if the title is meaningless.

  • zulu

    i like this fight i cant wait

  • Markusnavi

    Quit being little babies and get over it already. JJ vs Sonnen will happen no matter how much you all cry and whine about it. If you don’t like it, just don’t watch it. Simple solution. Or you can do exactly what the author of this article said… talk to hand. Lol

  • ufc viewer

    First off u guys are fools chael sonnen earn that title shot when he agree to fight jones at ufc 151 when no body else said yes at least he has the balls to fight not like other fighters who think they are the best but when they get the chance they say no. One more thing how come other fighters didnt say i fight chael for the title shot not one guy went to white and challege sonnen to a fight not one. thing about that haters

  • Ethan

    Come on now.. we already know who’s going to win this fight. Even the fans that know little to nothing about fighting know who’s going to win… why Chael would “step up” to earn yet another loss is either because A) he actually does have mental issues.. B) he realizes his career is coming to an end, and wants to take ahold of that star status before all the retards realize it’s he’s all talk.. C) (this is pretty dumb, but possible) the fight’s fixed for him to unexpectedly win a title at last, and against such a long framed, dominant LHW.. so many possibilities, and the UFC thrives from it. Forget matchmaker Joe Silva, it’s like mostly Dana White is doing the matchmaking these days. He realizes that after UFC 100, their PPV’s have gone a bit downhill. Another possibility could be that they’re trying to hand Jones an easy win to be that much closer to breaking more records, and to further hype up the fans for Jones VS Henderson.. to make even more money.