Dana White cancels UFC 151
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A quiet disaster played out behind the scenes of UFC 151's unprecedented disappearance, where there's room to spread some blame beyond that of light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, writes Chuck Mindenhall. Blog
The card was scheduled for Sept. 1 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White made the announcement Thursday during a media call, scrapping a major card for the first time in his 11 years in charge of mixed martial arts' dominant promotion.
Middleweight contender Chael Sonnen accepted an offer to face Jones, but the champion refused to fight him on eight days' notice.
"This is probably one of my all-time lows as being president of UFC," White said Thursday.
"Dan Henderson has a partial tear in his MCL and couldn't continue. He tried to train, he continued to work out and saw a doctor, but there was nothing we could do to save that fight.
"Chael Sonnen accepted the fight with Jon Jones, so as of 8 o'clock last night we had a fight. But the one thing I thought wouldn't happen, happened. Jon Jones said, 'I'm not fighting Chael Sonnen with eight days' notice."
Sonnen called out Jones for not fighting him.
"I just don't know why he won't fight me next Saturday," Sonnen said in an interview on "SportsCenter." "I mean, what else does he have to do? Maybe a wine tasting at a local race track or something I haven't heard about."
Jones is now scheduled to defend his title Sept. 22 against Lyoto Machida in Toronto. That card will remain UFC 152, and UFC 151 simply won't happen.
Topics: UFC 152
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Jones said recently that he did not want to fight Machida in a rematch because of low pay-per-view numbers the two generated Dec. 10 in Toronto. In that UFC 140 bout, Jones won by submission in the second round.
"I don't want to fight Lyoto Machida," Jones said. "He was my lowest pay-per-view draw of last year. No one wants to see me fight Lyoto Machida. I don't want to fight Lyoto again. Lyoto is high-risk and low-reward."
Naming Machida as the next opponent for Jones hasn't put UFC's current problem to rest. As of 3:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, Machida had not been informed that he was being added to the Sept. 22 card. And Machida's manager, Ed Soares, told ESPN.com that he can't say for certain his fighter will accept the bout on short notice.
"Lyoto doesn't even know about (the title shot) yet," Soares said. "He's on the road to his family's farm (in Brazil), and I haven't been able to reach him all morning. I spoke to his brother, and (Lyoto is) on the highway and he has no cellphone reception.
"I'm excited about the title shot, but will be more excited when I have an answer from Lyoto. I have to speak to Lyoto first. It's a weird situation. I've never been in this situation before, just like the UFC has never been in this situation before. It's crazy.
"(The fight is) three weeks away, four weeks away. I still have to clear this with Lyoto."