MacDonald on MMA: The Athlete’s submissions

August 30, 2012, 11:34 PM

Jon Jones, the most hated man MMA.

It’s weird how things work out, isn’t it? Before we turn on Jones, I want to say this about the whole UFC 151 cancellation. We’ve been talking a lot lately about how the UFC has become watered down. I think this whole debacle should be an eye opener to Dana White than anyone else. If you lose one fight on a card and the rest of the card is so invalid that you have to cancel it, that’s a bad thing. Three years ago, if you lost a main event fight, say Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell, there were nine other good fights on a card, so you could throw together a mediocre main event and people will be happy.

Fast forward to now, with UFC fights practically every week, you lose main event and the rest of the card is so weak in the fans’ minds that you can’t even say it’s a card. At what point do you go, “Okay, let’s scale things back it a bit. Let’s have a card every three or four weeks and make sure it’s full of fights people want to see. At some point you have to stop and slow down. Dana White says at the events, he’s always looking at the monitors to see what the product is that he’s giving the fans. Well, the product is watered down.

Okay, now let’s get back to Jones. He’s the champion, he’s driving a Bentley and making a million dollars, he has a responsibility to take a fight if needed and he had no excuse to decline a fight with Chael Sonnen. He had a full training camp, he was in shape, there is no reason on the face of the earth the champion shouldn’t be able to take a fight against a replacement, especially a guy who is a 185-pounder who has an identical fighting style as his original opponent Dan Henderson.

You’re healthy, you’re ready to fight, and you’re fighting to defend your title so your training camp must have been the best training camp you’ve ever had. You have no legitimate excuse in my books, even eight days away. It’s not like all of a sudden you’re fighting Fabricio Werdum, who’s coming down from heavyweight and is a high-level jiu-jitsu fighter you haven’t prepared for. Basically the only difference with what Henderson offers compared to Sonnen is that Hendo can knock you out with one punch, whereas Sonnen has never knocked anybody out in his career.

And Sonnen wasn’t even training for a fight. He was taking a fight on eight days notice with zero training camp. You can say maybe he was still in the gym training, but let me tell you as a pro fighter, there’s a difference between being in the gym every day training and in the gym every day training for a fight. There’s a big difference in intensity, both physically and mentally. When you’re just training, and you say you’re going to train five rounds, maybe you’ll do one round, then sit one out, and do five five-minute rounds with big breaks in between. But training for a fight, we’ll do 10 five-minute rounds and take 30 seconds in between each round, during which guys are constantly coming hard at you. If Sonnen even was training, it was just everyday training, not the high-intensity type when you’re training for a fight.

Jones is absolutely in the wrong. Not to mention where does that leave all the other fighters on that card? Sure the UFC can pay them their show money and reschedule them for fights 6-8 weeks later, but what about all the other intangibles, such as flights they’ve paid for or other things that they can’t get their money back. It didn’t cost Jon Jones anything, he’s still making a couple million dollars.

And then for him to turn around and blame Henderson was unbelievable. Henderson is hurt. Even if he gave Chael a heads-up a week earlier, what was he telling him, that he was hurt? Bottom line, Henderson was injured and based on his track record over his career, he must have been really badly hurt, for him to finally pull the trigger and make the decision to pull out. Overall, it was a pretty weak decision by Jones, in my opinion.

And what else comes out of it? Henderson loses his title shot for the imminent future and Vitor Belfort out of nowhere gets a title shot. Although I must say kudos to Belfort for being a true warrior and stepping up and taking this fight.

People in Toronto benefit, because now they’ll get treated to a Jones fight at UFC 152, though I’m not sure if people see that as a treat or not. He’s really painting himself with the villain brush. And I’m not sure how Belfort stacks up against Jones. Desperate times call for desperate measures, I guess.

I think this also shows something else where the UFC is lacking, and that’s a true rankings list when it comes to the top contenders. Look at every division in the UFC, and it’s really unclear who the legitimate No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 contenders are.

The UFC really needs to come up with some system where it’s clear and definitive who are the No. 1 contenders are. I’m not sure how they come up with it, but they just have to come up with something, even if it is as arbitrary as Joe Silva solely saying this is my top 10. It doesn’t have to be scientific, but there has to be a list, it’s so random now.

Right now, ask yourself, who are the three top contenders in any given division. Belfort gets the call at light-heavyweight and he’s not even on the list. If Condit beats GSP, who is the No. 2 guy in the welterweight division. Is it Hendricks? Is it Kampmann? Nobody knows. It’s so ridiculous. That’s a huge flaw in the UFC right now.

Just come up with a list and who cares why? Just tell me who they are. If Silva were to come out with the list, people won’t ask why. They may argue about the names just for fun, but they’ll accept it.

It makes me of one of White’s favourite lines, when discussing top contenders. He’ll say if so-and-so wins this fight, he’s in the mix. What does “in the mix” mean? Let’s get it defined and clear.

Okay, enough of my rant. I’m going to start filling out fights for my next Pure Fighting Championship show on Dec. 7, so if there’s anybody out there reading the blog and wants to fight in Red Deer, give me a shout


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