"I think Greg Jackson did absolutely the right thing. As a trainer, you're supposed to be prepared and have your guys prepared to go in and fight. He was prepared for a certain guy and a specific style in Dan Henderson, who is a Greco Roman guy with a big right hand, and in 8 days, which is really 3 days, they wanted him to switch that up and go with Chael Sonnen, who is a lefty and he's more of a freestyle and folk wrestler. He is a little bit quicker, so it's a different dynamic there. I don't blame Jon Jones for looking out for Jon Jones, and I don't blame Greg Jackson as a trainer for looking out for the best interest of his fighter," stated world-class trainer Ron Frazier, who shared his thoughts on the advise given by fellow world-class trainer Greg Jackson, who told UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones that it was not a wise decision to accept a fight with Chael Sonnen on 8 days notice. Check out what else he had to say!
PC: You know I had to get your thoughts on this Jon Jones situation, and I wanna attack it from every angle. First, of course from a trainers standpoint, did Greg Jackson do anything wrong?
RF: I think Greg Jackson did absolutely the right thing. As a trainer, you're supposed to be prepared and have your guys prepared to go in and fight. He was prepared for a certain guy and a specific style in Dan Henderson, who is a Greco Roman guy with a big right hand, and in 8 days, which is really 3 days, they wanted him to switch that up and go with Chael Sonnen, who is a lefty and he's more of a freestyle and folk wrestler. He is a little bit quicker, so it's a different dynamic there. I don't blame Jon Jones for looking out for Jon Jones, and I don't blame Greg Jackson as a trainer for looking out for the best interest of his fighter considering that most of his camp will be in the Philippines until mid-week next week and not really be able to help him make the transition in getting a new opponent, so I think he did perfectly fine.
PC: From a fighters standpoint, did he do the right thing by taking Greg Jackson's advice and refusing the fight?
RF: Most of this game is mental and a lot of people don't understand that. I had a fighter take a fight on 6 days notice who wasn't prepared to fight in the UFC at the time, and he's doing well in the UFC now, his name is Mike Pyle. He took a fight on 6 days notice and he wasn't training for a fight nor was he mentally prepared for that fight, and guess what? He lost to a fighter that if they fought 10 times, he would beat them the next 9. So people have to understand most of the guys who take fights on short notice, if you are the underdog, it's great for you. I know Charlie Brenneman is going, "Ah yeah, he should have fought and if not, he should make my rent payments." Well number one, don't lose 2 of your last 3 fights and become a bigger name before you make that statement. And number two, you were the beneficiary of somebody fighting on one day notice. Rick Story was training for Nate Marquardt, who was a much different fighter than Charlie Brenneman, but when Rick agreed to fight Charlie instead of Nate, he was a heavy favorite and he ended up losing that fight. So I think in the best interest of the fighter, in mentally and everything that you have to do in the game, you have to do what's best for you. And it sucks that they cancelled the card, but maybe they should blame the people that put the card on because it didn't have enough star power to save it.
PC: If you are a fighter on the level of a Jon Jones, or a notch below him, you should applaud this move. If they make you do this as their champion, what will they ask you to do next? MMA people want to say boxing is bad because the promoters run the sport and the fighters have no say; this is the same situation.
RF: They were trying to give a lot of people a chance on this card, but when you look at it from the onset, you had Josh Koscheck, who was originally on the card to fight Jake Ellenberger, which they both were coming off of a loss as the co-main event. And now a good friend of a mine and a guy I used to train, Jay Hieron, who is coming back into the UFC as a co-main event in a rematch from an IFL fight that they had like 4 years ago. But you have Jay Hieron being re-introduced to the UFC against Ellenberger, who is coming off of a knockout loss. So obviously they couldn't sustain a card with that, which is unfortunate, but at the end of the day, Jon Jones has to look out for Jon Jones. He doesn't have to look out for any other fighter; he doesn't have to look out for the UFC because 20 years from now, if his body is ravaged from the pounding he has taken being a MMA fighter, I don't think the UFC is going to be paying his bills. I don't think anybody else will care about what's going on with him. And fighters taking care of fighters I think that's called a union is that where we wanna go?
PC: Exactly! At the end of the day, Jon Jones did what was best for him and his career, at least he felt, and Dana White reacted like a promoter that just lost a lot of money, so I understand it on both sides; although to rip him publicly and then have to sell him to the public in less than a month didn't make much sense to me.
RF: I understand from Dana's perspective. He's a promoter and obviously they are going to lose a ton of money, but if they had went on with the card without Jones in a title fight, they would have lost a ton of money anyway. He needed a scapegoat and they got one in Jon Jones. Obviously with the DUI that he got not too long ago and with Rashad Evans going back and forth, some of the luster slipped off, so it was easy. It was easy to say, "Okay, you are the reason this event is not happening," and point the finger at him. He is a promoter and he's trying to look out for what's best for his company, and I understand that, but at the end of the day, I thought Jon Jones made the right decision.
PC: The question I'm getting a lot is, if Chael was willing to step up on 8 days notice, why not Chael Sonnen against Jon Jones at the end of September as opposed to Vitor Belfort?
RF: They had already said Chael wasn't going to get a title shot coming back to the division. Chael has fought at 205 before, so he's not something new to the division. He's fought at this weight before. Had he fought at 205 in December and beat Forrest Griffin, they said he still wouldn't get a title shot. So how does he leap ahead of Gustafsson, Shogun, or Machida he wasn't, so I think they know that's probably not a good matchup for Chael. He couldn't beat Anderson and Jon is supposed to be a bigger and better version of Anderson Silva. I don't think he's better, but a lot of people do.
PC: Hats off to Vitor for accepting this fight, but why Vitor instead of a Gustafsson, who should be training for Shogun here soon? And can we fault Machida or Shogun for turning down the fight with Jones, because that was short notice for both of those guys as well?
RF: No, because they are not prepared to fight the champion. They are not prepared to fight a title fight. Neither one of those guys have been training since their last outing, and you're basically giving them a month, essentially 3 weeks, because that's what it comes down to because that last week, you're not really training or doing anything. So you get 3 weeks to get back in shape, and for Shogun, his last fight, his cardio went halfway through the 2nd round, so he has to go back and evaluate how he was training anyway, let alone for a title fight. And Machida was like, "Hey, I'm not prepared and I have to be 100% when I face Jon Jones. I want to give myself the best opportunity to win." So no, they shouldn't be ridiculed. Hats off to Vitor for stepping up. He was training for a fight anyway and he felt like he would be ready in that amount of time, so hats off to him. He is a former light heavyweight champion. But you know what? At the end of the day, you have to be mentally and physically prepared, so all of these people who are calling Jon Jones a coward and all of those sorts of things, that's easy to say when you don't fight because there are a lot of non-fighters doing that. And you know what? If you are not a title holder, it is easier to say what you would do when you're not in that situation. Jon has to look out for his brand and his family because at the end of the day, this is a lone sport. They don't have a players union behind them. They don't get a pension plan in MMA or boxing, so at the end of the day, he just signed a Nike deal and he has to do what's best for him. See, 10 or 15 years from now, he is the only one that's going to be taking care of him; not none of these fans who are saying he is a coward and he should have fought. Keep in mind they don't fight, and any of these other fighters are not in his shoes.
PC: We know a lot of MMA fans sway with the wind. Is Jon Jones a coward to them now, but then run off 3 or 4 impressive wins and he becomes the phenom again, or do you think his image is tarnished for this for the duration of his career in the UFC?
RF: Nah, I think he goes out and starts beating people in the 1st round and not getting to the 2nd round again. I think he will be fine and in good standing.
PC: Thanks for your time and honesty as always. Is there anything you want to say before I let you go?
RF: I'm having a blast doing The Ultimate Fighter season 16 with Roy Nelson. My schedule is a little bit crazy because of it, but its all good times. Jeff Mayweather has a new nickname...we calling him "No Labels." He will know what it is.