I'm not a coach, so I can't really say what was on Greg Jackson's mind, but I have dealt with a lot of coaches and here is the thing, I can't fault Jackson for what he said because he's a coach and he's giving a coach's opinion, and the coach's opinion is, you are trained for one fighter and 8 days is not enough time to switch your strategy for a completely different strategy. I don't know if Jackson said pull out of this fight or don't fight or whatever, but he just voiced his opinion and basically said, if you're asking for my opinion, I don't think you should take this fight because I don't think you have had enough time to prepare, and stylistically, it's a totally different guy.
In retrospect, you can point the finger at whoever you want, but in Jackson's case and in his defense, he stated his opinion as a coach and that's exactly what any coach would have done. He's not involved with, at least according to him he's not involved with decisions of actually taking a fight or not. He just voiced his opinion on what he thought of the opponent when it was presented to him. So it's pretty clear what Jackson's position was and I think he came out and said nobody told him it was about canceling shows and the future of the show weighed in the balance of Jon Jones' decision. He was just asked what he thought about the fight and he gave an opinion.
And to be honest with you, I don't know if it would have made a difference if they told him, "Hey, if you guys don't take this fight, we are gonna cancel the entire card." I don't know if that would have made a difference of what Jackson had to say. Jackson wasn't weighing the pros and cons from a PR standpoint or a save this show standpoint. He was giving his opinion just purely based on a coach whose job is to train a fighter to fight another guy with a specific style. And Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen are two totally different guys.
As a manager, that's a matter of opinion; same way as how do you handle a show if you have a star fighter and he's not fighting. You just cancel it was the UFC's decision. I think each manager deals with things in their own way. And to be honest with you, I think this was a Jon Jones decision. I don't think his management had anything to do with it; that's just my speculation. I think Jon Jones said, "I'm not gonna fight." I'm basing that purely on the fact that when the conversations happen and announcements were made, and the immediate kind of backlash of what happened is Jon Jones. The only person talking and tweeting and explaining his position to the media was Jones, so I think he made a decision to do it. I think if this was a joint decision or a decision made by his management, normally you want to keep the fighter away from talking to the media because the media could interpret something or the fighter can say something that they weren't supposed to say. You come out with a coherent statement that makes sense and you kind of just stick to it and it's usually the manager who you talk to. "We decided blah blah blah and we apologize blah blah blah," and that's it.
It's just like Machida turned down a fight with Jon Jones on the 22nd and that's why he's fighting Vitor Belfort. Well, you didn't see Machida out there tweeting and yapping. They made a joint decision and his management sent out a press release and they were done with it. I don't think it was a situation where his management had much to say about this. It was him. I know I personally tweeted out that I haven't seen his management say anything and his manager's reply was he supports his fighter 1000%. So obviously they are behind him, but I don't think they made the decision. I think it was him.
As far as the fighter is concerned, once again, it's a double edge sword. On one side, you ask the fighters to be professional and you tell the fighters that this is a real sport and they are real athletes. And then you go on TV and say these are real athletes and they train harder than anybody and they are college educated and they are not just some barbaric animals in a cage fighting. And then when one of them behaves as a professional, then you bury him and say he sucks, he's a pussy, he's not a real fighter, he's a scaredy cat and he should have just dove in there and fought. Wait, hold on! Either these guys are professional athletes who train harder than any other athlete in any other sport or they're not. They are just entertainers like WWE type shit. Just jump in there and we will change the script and good luck, we will see what happens.
And for somebody to say, "Well, I know Jon Jones would have beaten Sonnen," that's a retarded statement. You don't know anything. You are not the one fighting, and guess what? If he doesn't beat him and some miracle happens like they say, this is fighting; you don't discount anybody. I mean, how many times have we heard the UFC say that promoting some bullshit fight that everybody knows what's going on and what's going to happen? When Anderson fought Yushin Okami, "What, are you kidding me? Anything can happen in a split second." When Georges St. Pierre was getting ready to fight Jake Shields, "Jake Shields, are you kidding me? He was a folk wrestling champion in the mountains of California." Well fuck, that's right up there with NCCA and all of the other accolades. I mean, folk wrestling in the mountains; you can't beat that. "He could submit him just by looking at him," and he could do this and do that. Well, just because you think he could beat him don't mean a goddamn thing.
You guys say yourself anything can happen. What if this anything happened? Can you imagine losing to a guy who just got owned in his own division by a champion who he talked shit about for 2 years; got annihilated. He mounted a guy for a whole round and then in the next round, he got murdered in a minute. I'm not saying that to be negative towards Chael. It takes a lot to step up to fight; you lose and you win. My point is he lost, and in a bad way, and just because he can yap, all of a sudden he gets a title shot. That in itself alone is kind of weird, really strange, especially when you're talking about a professional sport where these guys are professional athletes.
Imagine if Jones lost to him; it would be it. It would be the end of Jon Jones' career. I mean, that's worse than Ryan Bader losing to Tito Ortiz. It would be terrible. So here is a guy who, just purely from a business standpoint, has everything to lose and nothing to gain, absolutely nothing to gain, because he beats Chael Sonnen, it does zero for his career, nothing, because Chael Sonnen was able to turn around and lose to Anderson and in defeat convince half the world that he was the champion. Well, what do you think he's going to do if he took a fight in a different weight class on 8 day notice? "My God, I was winning. I threw two or three jabs, I was winning the whole thing, and Jon Jones sucks." So either way, he's fucked. He has no upside. All he has is downside. So from purely a business standpoint, why would he fight is beyond me.
That's the part that everybody seems to be missing; media, fans and everybody. Even the media, a lot of media are getting on this bandwagon of the poor undercard guys and blah, blah, blah. You feel so fucking bad for these undercard guys, but guess what? They are making like 5 and 5 to fight, and they fight twice a year so. They are making 20 grand a year. I'm sure their life wasn't lavish to start with. Don't put the blame on Big Bad Jon Jones. And God knows I'm no Jon Jones fan as far as his personality. I think he is pretty gangsta as a fighter, but I think his whole holier than Jesus I walk on water shit is a bunch of crap, but that doesn't change the fact of what's going on here.
The bottom line is this, you have to choose what you are. Are you a professional sport? Are these guys really top level athletes? Or are you not? Because you say that you are so the fans, media and everybody else should understand that you can't ask a top level athlete to change their strategies on 8 days notice to fight a totally different guy. It's not the same and it doesn't work the same. Fighting is not a team sport; it is an individual sport and it's a title fight, meaning Dan Henderson did something to earn a title shot, then all of a sudden he got hurt, and now you're going to go pick a guy out of the sky and give him a title shot because you know he can sell PPV's in 8 days. Where is the logic in that? Then what's the point of having a progression? Why did Machida have to impress the UFC against Ryan Bader to earn a title shot?
My point is it's not about Jon Jones or not Jon Jones. The question is for this organization to decide what are we? If we are a professional sport, then these people need to be treated like professionals. You can't go out there and bash him and call him a pussy and say that he sucks, especially if you're the President of the organization. That's another thing, like how are you gonna get on a TV 2 weeks from now and say Jon Jones is the greatest thing since sliced bread to try to promote the Vitor Belfort fight when he just buried the guy and said that he's a total pussy and he sucks and he's terrible and he's horrible and Greg Jackson's terrible. Everybody is terrible and two weeks from now, we are going to listen to how Greg Jackson is this mastermind genius and Jon Jones is the greatest thing since sliced bread and this, that and the other. And I'm not even gonna talk about the Vitor Belfort fight, because they should just scrap the fight all together. The #1 contender declined and the challenger is sick done. Jon Jones will fight when Machida says he wants to fight or at UFC 155 or whatever the fuck. Why would you want to just have a title fight just to have a fight? Even if you contractually owe Jon Jones a fight, hey, we offered you a fight and you turned it down, so now you wait on us.
So ultimately, it's not about pointing the finger at Jon Jones. Jon Jones did what's best for Jon Jones. Jon Jones is not responsible for 21 other fucking fighters on this goddamn card. I got news for you, the UFC has lost more money than that. If everybody is so fucking concerned about these fighters, why don't you just pay them? Pay them their fucking show money so they can all pay their rent and be happy. You are the ones who canceled the show. Jon Jones didn't cancel the show, scrap the main event, and then they say without him, it wouldn't sell. That seems to be the cause affect, but it's not the root. This is your show; it's not his show to cancel. It really sucks for all of these undercard fighters, but what about Dan Henderson? It really sucks for him; nobody talking about that shit. He spent 3 months training, spending money out of his pocket, and then he just got injured. Well guest what? It just sucks and sometimes it just happens. Trainers don't give a fuck if you are injured or not. They want to get paid for the time they trained you. If Jon Jones got hurt, the same undercard fighters that everybody is so fucking worried about what happens when they get injured training for a fight that they are going to make $8,000 fucking dollars and then they can't fight for a year. Nobody gives a fuck what happens to them. Now it's like Jon Jones, the evil man that destroyed lives get the fuck outta here.