Greg Jackson to UFC: “Put Chael Sonnen in There Instead of Lyoto Machida” on Sept. 22nd.
Says Jon Jones Fighting Sonnen on “Three Days” Notice “Not a Smart Thing To Do”
By Kelsey Mowatt
After announcing on a media call today that the promotion has cancelled its upcoming September 1st event, it wasn’t long before a fired up UFC President Dana White began lashing out at Jon Jones and his head trainer Greg Jackson.
First, White confirmed that Dan Henderson has been forced to withdraw from the event due to a partially torn MCL. Then, White proceeded to relay that Jones has turned down a fight with Chael Sonnen, who reportedly agreed to take the bout despite the short notice. While White was clearly upset with Jones, much of his anger was also directed at Jackson, who the UFC President cited was behind the light-heavyweight champ’s decision.
“I certainly was asked my opinion and I said that taking a fight with Sonnen on three days notice, it’s important to make that distinction, it’s three days, not eight days, because you’re not really training fight week, was not the smart thing to do,” Jackson told Full Contact Fighter. “I still don’t feel like it’s the smart thing to do.”
During the media call, White made it clear that he didn’t understand why Jones wouldn’t be willing to face Sonnen, considering the champion’s abilities and the aforementioned short notice.
“Sonnen is very, very tough and he just fought for another world title,” Jackson noted about the former middleweight, who was stopped by champion Anderson Silva on July 7th. “He knows what he’s doing; he’s obviously been training with Dan for a while, he’s in shape and ready to go… I was asked for my opinion if it was a good thing to take a fight with someone of Sonnen’s level, on three days notice, for a world championship, and I didn’t think that was the smartest thing I’ve ever heard.”
White referred to Jackson as a “sport killer”, as a result of his advice to Jones, which was just one of the criticisms the UFC executive launched at the accomplished trainer.
“I’m not really sure why,” said Jackson, who also says he had no idea the entire card was going to be cancelled as result of their decision. “I guess it’s just confusion more than anything. If we switched places, and he was where I was, I’m sure I would be mad too, but I’m sure he would also see that fighting Sonnen in this situation would not be the best move for his fighter.”
Now, Jones will apparently fight Lyoto Machida on September 22nd in Toronto, which is a bout the champion recently stated he wasn’t particularly interested in taking.
“We will fight Sonnen, just give us more than three days, a week to prepare for the guy,” said Jackson. “Put him in there instead of Machida. No problem. We gotta have some sort of preparation.”
“Put whoever you want in front of us,” Jackson added. “Anyone who thinks Jon is sleeping on this belt needs to pay attention to this last year and a half or so; he’s been fighting every single former champion out there. He’s done so with preparation because it’s a professional sport.”
Despite White’s comments, Jackson wouldn’t return fire at the world’s most successful MMA promoter.
“I’m not going to say anything bad about Dana. The reason we’re in a professional position is directly because of him, he’s the reason. So when he gets mad at me I’m not going to get mad back at him. He’s the reasons we all have jobs. I guess I’m sorry that I didn’t think it was a good idea to fight Chael on three days notice.”