Cesar Gracie on Greg Jackson Advising Against Bout With Chael Sonnen: “I Don’t Think That Approach is Going to Capture The Imagination and Trust of the Fans”
By Kelsey Mowatt
It’s been a long few days for Greg Jackson and his renowned team, as even before he and Jon Jones came under fire for not accepting a bout with Chael Sonnen, the gym went 1-3 at the most recent Strikeforce event. In addition, the team’s showing had been the focal point of a headline making tweet from Cesar Gracie, which relayed to Jackson’s MMA that “dancing with the stars don’t cut it here.”
While advising Jones to not accept a fight on short notice may seem like a different issue than the gameplans that have been implemented by Jackson’s fighters, according to Gracie, there’s a correlation.
“Number one, let me say that I really don’t know Greg personally, so I don’t want to say anything against his character because I don’t have anything personal against him,” said Gracie. “But I look at things from the angle of fighting, and the guys I admired coming up were the Chuck Liddells of the world…the champs that fought anybody, and I see the people out of Greg Jackson’s and it’s a different approach. I don’t think that approach is going to capture the imagination and trust of the fans.”
“When I see people trying to get the decision by dancing around, and I see a lot of that with one particular camp, then yeah, I’m going to criticize it,” Gracie added about Jackson, who recently told Full Contact Fighter he remains a fan of Gracie despite his criticisms. “I think this is another reflection of that. Don’t take this fight, who knows why, because strategically it might not be good for you.”
After it was announced that UFC 151 had been cancelled, Jackson acknowledged to FCF that he had advised Jones against fighting Sonnen. Jackson said he had done so not only because of the veteran’s abilities, but because Sonnen had been helping Dan Henderson prepare for the bout. According to Jackson, having Jones fight Sonnen on such short notice would not be “the smart thing to do,” before adding that they would be willing to fight the former middleweight on September 22nd.
“I’m not privy to their circumstances, but from looking at it just cut and dry, I wouldn’t do the same thing,” said Gracie. “I wouldn’t tell my guy “don’t fight” because Chael and Henderson are similar. They’re wrestlers who pack a hard punch and it’s a very similar fight, except Chael hasn’t been training, so I would have definitely had them fight.”
Jackson also credited Gracie for having “four or five of the best guys out there”, and while the California instructor stands by his criticisms, he also extended the accomplished team a compliment.
“There’s guys there that are pretty remarkable; without a doubt,” said Gracie, who has helped develop several all star fighters including Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez and Jake Shields. “They’ve assembled a lot of great fighters together. I like Donald Cerrone; I like the way he fights.
“I used to be a fan of Carlos Condit, before the whole thing with Nick Diaz,” added Gracie, while referring to Condit’s unanimous decision win over Diaz in February, which saw the Jackson’s fighter win the UFC interim welterweight belt. “I was expecting a dog fight, and we were promised that, but it didn’t happen…There’s obviously a lot of talented people over and I do like watching some of them fight.”
Stay tuned to Full Contact Fighter for another article with Gracie, regarding the aforementioned Melendez and the Strikeforce lightweight champ’s upcoming bout with challenger Pat Healy.