UFC cancels UFC 151, conveniently puts all blame on Jon Jones

nullIn case you have been under a rock today, UFC 151 has been cancelled.

The short story is Dan Henderson injured his knee and couldn’t fight next Saturday, prompting the UFC to offer Jon Jones a replacement opponent of Chael Sonnen. Jones, after speaking with his team, declined to take the fight on such short notice.

So, the UFC, instead of finding a new main event, or just running with the card they setup sans the main event, decided to just axe the event altogether.

In the process, they completely threw the light heavyweight champion under the bus.

Normally, I am on Dana White’s side of things. He is a hot head, no doubt, but he usually tells it like it is.

However, blaming Jones for the canceling of an event is simply a convenient way to take the blame off of himself and the UFC.

First off, canceling an entire UFC event is a big deal. It impacts the fighters, the venue, the host city and those that would be working the event.

Many fighters rely on a small paycheck from fighting on the under card simply to make ends meet. Due to the UFC’s venom spewed at Jones, many of those fighters are now taking their anger and frustration out on the champion as well.

But, let’s all take a deep breath and take into consideration two things:

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UFC 135 Recap – Jones backs up the hype

nullJon Jones has been as impressive as anyone in his short UFC career, but on Saturday, he continued to impress.

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion ran through another opponent at UFC 135, beating Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by submission in the fourth round to retain his title.

The first three rounds saw Jones dictate the fight with his long reach, especially with his kicks. Jackson was never able to get inside that long reach, but did show some good takedown defense in the fight.

Once the fourth round came, Jones caught Jackson with a big straight punch that seemed to stun Jackson. The fight then soon went to the ground and Jones quickly secured a rear-naked choke and forced a tap of Jackson. It was just the second submission loss of Jackson’s career and his first since 2001.

Jones seemed to only hurt himself in the fight as opposed to take damage from Jackson. He appeared to injure his feet from throwing a number of kicks at Jackson. Hopefully he doesn’t have a broken foot so he and Rashad Evans can face off sooner rather than later.

In the co-main event, Josh Koscheck knocked out Matt Hughes at 4:59 of the first round to get his first win in over a year. Hughes put on an impressive striking display in the early portion of the round but eventually got cracked, and that led to the finish.

Hughes hinted that Saturday’s loss could be his last fight, but didn’t say the actual word “retire”. I will touch more on that tomorrow.

For full UFC 135 results, check out the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Belfort injured, Wanderlei Silva to face Cung Le at UFC 139

nullJust a few weeks after Vitor Belfort announced he would be taking on Cung Le at UFC 139, he has now had to announce he will not be fighting after all.

According to MMAFighting.com, Belfort suffered an injury that will force him out of the fight. But, the UFC was quick to find a replacement, as Wanderlei Silva will step in to take on Le at UFC 139.

Wanderlei Silva will make his return to the Octagon on November 19 in San Jose, when he takes on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le at UFC 139.

UFC President Dana White announced today that Vitor Belfort had to pull out of his fight with Le because of an injury, and as a result Silva will step in and take it.

Belfort vs. Le had the makings of a great fight because of the speed and quickness both have in their striking.

However, Le vs. Silva should be just as good, if not better, because Silva is relentless and is willing to be knocked out in order to put on a show. Belfort is more hesitant in his striking. With Silva now in, expect fireworks and an explosive knockout when he and Cung Le face off.

Penn to now face Diaz at UFC 137

nullNow that the dust has settled in on the change to the UFC 137 main event, with Carlos Condit replacing Nick Diaz to face Georges St. Pierre for the welterweight championship, the next biggest question was who was B.J. Penn facing that night?

Penn was originally scheduled to face Condit in the co-main event, but UFC President Dana White said he was working on something crazy for Penn, and he hoped that it still take place at UFC 137.

Well, the UFC decided if it could move one fighter, why not just move the other.

Dana White released on his Twitter that Penn will now fight Nick Diaz in the co-main event.

This is crazy but here we go again! Penn vs Diaz 10/29 in Vegas

This should be a tremendous bout as both men have a warrior mentality and they will certainly leave everything in the octagon.

Diaz still gets his shot at a high-profile bout while Penn gets a chance to land a marquee win in the welterweight division.

I think from a matchup standpoint, the changes to both fights make each one more interesting.

Diaz removed for UFC 137 main event, GSP vs. Condit on

nullI see your Nate Marquardt and raise you a Nick Diaz.

In one of the most bizarre situations in UFC history, Strikeforce Welterweight Champion Nick Diaz has been removed from the main event of UFC 137 against UFC champ, Georges St. Pierre, after going AWOL on the company and skipping two press conferences in two days.

After missing three different flights to head to Toronto for a press conference to promote UFC 137 on Tuesday, Diaz stopped communicating with Dana White and the UFC and was nowhere to be found on Wednesday, for another press conference to promote the event in Las Vegas.

White announced at the beginning of the presser that Diaz was removed from the fight and co-main eventer, Carlos Condit, will take on GSP for the title.

Diaz’ trainer, Cesar Gracie, expressed his frustration with his own fighter to MMAJunkie.com.

“I don’t blame Dana White on this at all,” Gracie today told MMAjunkie.com  ”This is a professional company, and Nick is a 28-year-old man.”

“I’ve stuck up for Nick, even when he was wrong before,” Gracie said. “But he’s let a lot of people down. He’s let his team down. We all bought plane tickets to Vegas. We got hotel rooms booked, paid for. We’ve got all that, and Nick just decided not to go to something he’s supposed to. They’re paying him a lot of money, and in this economy where people don’t have money, he’s blessed. He should be thanking God every night how blessed he is.

“And instead, he’s not getting on a plane to go to Vegas. I’m extremely disappointed. He’s done a lot of stuff, but this is the worst of it. If I were him, I would be begging Dana White to get my job back and work your way up to a title shot at some point.”

“I’m not a psychologist,” he said. “I personally think there’s some kind of social anxiety happening here with Nick. Dana said, ‘You’ve got to play the game this much.’ And this isn’t even playing the game. This is about being a man and being responsible. And Nick has done neither in this situation.

“He’s a great jiu-jitsu guy. He’s a great fighter. I’m saying this because I care deeply about the guy. He’s one of my black belts. But in this situation, he is 100 percent wrong, and he got what he deserved.”

There are so many side stories to this happening, but clearly the main one is the odd behavior of Diaz. I sincerely hope he is of good physical and mental health, but he has a lot of explaining to do.

He has certainly blown the greatest opportunity of his pro career and may never step foot inside a Zuffa cage or octagon again.

Carlos Condit may be a tougher opponent for St. Pierre, but we will break down that fight another time.

Also lost in the mix is that B.J. Penn is now without an opponent, as he was set to face Condit at UFC 137 in the co-main event.

MMA News and Notes – Henderson vs. Guida set, Diaz skips media event

nullLost in the announcement of Lesnar vs. Overeem on Tuesday were some other big news in the world of MMA, mostly concerning the UFC.

- In another big fight announcement, MMAFighting.com is reporting that top lightweight contenders, Ben Henderson and Clay Guida will collide on the UFC on FOX undercard. Henderson is coming off his dominant win over Jim Miller at UFC on Versus 5 while Guida defeated Anthony Pettis at the Ultimate Fighter Finale. The winner of this bout could find themselves in top contender status for the lightweight title. It should be a good grappling match, but I see Henderson favored based on styles.

- MMAFighting.com also reported that Matt Hughes has accepted a fight with Josh Koscheck for UFC 135. Koscheck will replace Hughes’ original opponent, Diego Sanchez. Sanchez had to pull out of the fight with a broken hand.

- You can’t a teach a dog new tricks apparently. Despite Dana White insisting that Nick Diaz would conform to the various media requests that are expected of a top contender for his UFC 137 title bout with Georges St. Pierre, apparently the Strikeforce welterweight champion skipped a press conference on Tuesday in Toronto to promote the event. The UFC had to explination for his absence according to the Winnipeg Free Press, but another scheduled press conference is to take place today in Las Vegas. Will Diaz be there? Will he be punished for his absence?

- Fedor Emelianenko will return to action on Nov. 12 when he takes on Jeff Monson for a M-1 event in Russia according to MMAMania.com. Fedor has lost his last three bouts and will face Monson, who is coming off a loss to Daniel Cormier on the undercard of Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum. Stylistically, this is a good matchup for Fedor, but will do nothing to get him back into the American spotlight.

- Another announcement that took place on Tuesday is that the UFC is heading back to Japan in 2012. Sherdog.com reports that Feb. 26, 2012 is the set date for the organization to make its return to Japan, which is nearly 14 years since the UFC first stepped foot in Japan. Expect to see many of the countries top starts on that card.