It was Wednesday night around 5 o’clock when Chael Sonnen saw Dana White’s name pop up on the caller-ID on his cell phone.
A few moments later Sonnen heard the bad news that his good friend and former training partner Dan Henderson had suffered a knee injury and was forced out of his scheduled bout against Jon Jones at UFC 151. White was calling Sonnen to offer him Henderson’s spot in the fight, and the self-proclaimed American Gangster gladly accepted the opportunity.
Unfortunately, Jon Jones opted not to accept the fight with Chael Sonnen.
“I just don’t know why he won’t fight me next Saturday, I mean what else does he have to do? Is there like a wine tasting at the local racetrack or something I haven’t heard about? I don’t know what his deal is. Maybe Dana didn’t make it clear enough that he was willing to fly Jones out, maybe Jon thought he had to drive,” Sonnen told ESPN on Thursday while taking a jab at Jones’ DWI conviction from earlier this year.
When questioned about the champion’s decision to turn down the fight because it was on only 8 days notice without much opportunity to train for an entirely new opponent, Sonnen, as expected, wasn’t very sympathetic to the UFC’s light heavyweight champion.
“You could give a guy 90 days and you can err on the side of caution. You could give a guy a year, that’s completely fine. We’re a volunteer army, nobody has to fight, nobody has to go with this company, go into this line of work. But when you choose to, and when you sign your name to a contract, when an industry is counting on you to honor your word, you’ve got to honor your word,” said Sonnen.
“Dan Henderson was on one leg and did everything he could to still make that date. Dana White flew him out had his own doctor look at Dan’s knee and he said you can’t go. So Dan Henderson was willing to do on one leg what Jon Jones who’s healthy isn’t willing to do.”
Sonnen believes this all points to the personality that Jon Jones possesses, and that he’s ultimately only out for himself and not thinking about anybody else his decision might effect.
“Jon Jones has his own way of going about things. This guy is an entitled brat, and when you get that way and you’re surrounded by people that tell you these things, you don’t think of anybody else but yourself. He’s now with Nike – Nike with Jon Jones is going to have to change their slogan to ‘Just Do Nothing’,” Sonnen stated.
“I’m the highest paid fighter in the UFC. Any time you talk about money you sound like a brat, I don’t mean to do that. I fought back when there was no money, but the reality is I’m at the top of the pay scale right now, I offered him in writing, I heard you read it on your show, I will give him my entire purse just so that the show goes on. Just so that the guys on the undercard who haven’t been at this, this long, that are counting on their $5,000 and $10,000 paychecks to make their mortgage and car payments next month, could have a job next week. I would do that for the industry and the company that I love, for the fans that I fight for and this little brat isn’t going to step in on 8 days notice? How much notice do you need?”
The answer to the question for Sonnen was that fighters in reality don’t get much notice at all, and Jones showed his true colors by not accepting the fight with him at UFC 151.
“Let me ask you a question, have any of you ever been in a fight where you get 8 days notice? No, that’s not real life! You think our soldiers over there get 8 days notice before somebody throws a bomb their way? You’ve got to be ready right now. That’s real life,” said Sonnen.
The always outspoken former middleweight contender didn’t let Jones off the hook for a future fight, but said he missed out on his golden opportunity to get him when he wasn’t truly prepared. Now Sonnen says Jones will fight a ready and well-trained American Gangster.
“This was his big opportunity to get me on 8 days notice. 8 days notice is going to turn into zero days notice because the final week all you do is make weight and do a media tour,” said Sonnen.
“This was his opportunity to sway the scales in his favor. Now when I come to beat him, I’m going to get a contract, I’m going to get 90-days, I’m going to have a normal training preparation, this was his big opportunity to slip one past the greatest icon this sport has ever seen and he missed it. He missed it like a chump.”
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