Dan Henderson Injured, Jones Turned Down Chael Sonnen, UFC 151 Cancelled

UFC President, Dana White has announced that UFC 151 has been cancelled after light heavyweight number one contender, Dan Henderson picked up a torn MCL in training this week. When the Las Vegas based promotion attempted to save the card by replacing Henderson with Chael Sonnen, but current champion, Jon Jones turned down the fight, leaving them with no other options but to cancel the event altogether.

The event set for September 22nd in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, will now serve as UFC 151 and be headlined not by Jones vs. Machida II but Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson for the vacant flyweight title.

White, speaking during today’s media conference call, said:

This is probably one of my all-time lows of being President of the UFC in 11 years.

For the first time in 11 years, we’re cancelling an event. UFC 151 at Mandalay Bay is off.

Dan Henderson has a partial tear in his knee.

Hard to find a replacement. One guy – Chael Sonnen – said not only would he take the fight, but he’d fly to Vegas last night to make it happen. The UFC got things started to make it happen, but Jon Jones said he’s not fighting Chael Sonnen on 8 days notice.

A world champion and one of the pound-for-pound best has never turned down a fight, until now.

Saturday, September 22 – Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida for the UFC LHW title at UFC 152 in Toronto, Ontario.

Ben Fowlkes, USA Today: Did Jones know the full extent of the situation?
Dana: You know me; he knows what the consequences were and what would happen.

Fowlkes: Did you talk to Machida about this – and he only wanted to do this on a longer time frame?
White: Machida was already in the air (on his way to Brazil). I can accept that; completely different circumstances, completely different story.

Fowlkes: With Jones turning down Sonnen, did he know Machida would be the next choice down the line?
White: How ’bout this? His coach Greg Jackson said, “There is no way you take this fight on 8 days notice. It would be the biggest mistake of your career.” Chael Sonnen is an 185-pound fighter who wants to move up who hasn’t trained for this fight at all… this guy is a fucking sport-killer. This guy is from another planet. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.

Ariel Helwani: How long is Dan Henderson going to be out for?
White: Not sure. He has a partial tear in his MCL, but we can’t sit around waiting to see if he’s ok for the 22nd.

Helwani: Did Jones say anything about “I won’t fight Sonnen, but I’ll fight this guy?”
White: No.

White: No champion has ever turned down a fight. Tito was a pain in the ass to deal with, but he never turned down a fight.

John Morgan: Did Jones say he wasn’t taking the fight because of Jackson’s advice?
White: That’s exactly why he’s not taking the fight.

Morgan: He’s been saying he’s a business man. Is he lacking the heart of a fighter? Thoughts on his “business savvy?”
White: You’re not a business man; you’re a fighter. If he was a business man, we wouldn’t be in this situation.

Morgan: Does Hendo maintain #1 contender spot?
White: Not sure – look what happened to Rashad.

Morgan: Why not move it to TV?
White: Not enough time. I can’t do it.

Todd Grisham, ESPN: Does this impact UFC attachment to Jon Jones in terms of sponsorship?
White: Good question. I’m the wrong guy to ask because I hate UFC sponsorship.

Grisham: Was there any inkling about Henderson injury and Chael was angling early?
White: Not at all. I had to track Chael down.

Damon Martin: What happens to everybody else on the UFC 151 card?
White: We’ll figure it out. I don’t know what the fallout is going to be from this thing, but we’ll figure it out.

Martin: How much does this change your relationship with Jon Jones?
White: A lot.

Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer: Ramifications are gigantic; is there anything you can detail in terms of venue, PPVs, advertising. This is a big hit.
White: It’s a major, major deal. We lose shitloads of money. We’re 8 days out. We spent shitloads of money on this fight. We’ve been talking about it all morning about how far it goes and how bad it hurts, but I don’t know yet.

Meltzer: Ticket refunds?
White: Yes – call TicketMaster or whoever. Hopefully you can get flights rescheduled.

Meltzer: When did you make the decision to pull the plug?
White: An hour ago.

Meltzer: Was it just a refusal to fight anyone on that day?
White: Yep.

White: Me and Lorenzo are both disgusted (with Jones). (Missed the question)

White: I don’t know why a guy who is a world champion and considered one of the P4P best wouldn’t fight anybody.

Matt Erickson, Junkie: You said Chael wouldn’t get a title shot if he beats Forrrest…
White: And I also said Chael would not talk his way to the title, but the thing with Chael – when things are normal, Chael would have had to beaten three nasty guys to get to the title, but when the chips are down, this is the guy you call and he’ll fight anybody. He’d fight him tonight. He talks the craziest shit ever, but he backs it up.

Erickson: Worried about backlash from fans about Sonnen-Jones?
White: No – lots of people probably wouldn’t have wanted to see it, but by Friday, Chael Sonnen would have convinced a lot of us that he was going to win.

Erickson: Can you put a dollar figure to the losses?
White: It’s massive.

Erickson: Flyweights now become co-main in Toronto; did you think of moving it so it could headline?
White: No.

Brett Okamoto, ESPN: Do you not have something in championship contracts that say, “The UFC has the ultimate ruling on things” or anything like that?
White: I can’t make somebody fight. I can’t do that. You’re either a fighter or you’re not. This is what we all do for a living. I have a building here in Vegas that 250 people have been busting their ass to promote this fight. You know what – Good for you Jon Jones, you’re rich and you’ve got money, you don’t need to take this fight, but there’s a lot of guys who need this fight to feed their families.

Ariel Helwani: What did Jones say about fighting Machida?
White: I can tell you this – he ain’t turning down Machida. If I get a call that says he won’t fight Machida, we’ll be  having another conference call this afternoon.

About William Smith

After watching the first Ultimate Fighting Championship I became instantly hooked. I've been a huge fan of the sport of MMA ever since. Haven't missed a UFC event & thanks to fight pass I've witnessed some of the all time greatest fighter & athletes the sport through Pride, Strikeforce, WEC, Glory, Pacrase, EliteXC.............. I resently joined MMA-paradise.com & will use this site to continue to bring the latest news from the world of MMA to all our loyal followers.