If 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.”
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