Opinion: UFC 159 At Long Last
By Jesse Heitz
Finally, the time is upon us. We’re on the precipice of UFC 159, which features the much-anticipated light heavyweight clash between UFC Champion, Jon “Bones” Jones, and his challenger, Chael Sonnen. These two men will finally settle a score that has been months in the making, all to the great amusement of millions of screaming fans.
All I can say is that I’m glad it’s almost over. This saga seems to have the distinct ability to grate on one’s nerves. Don’t get me wrong, the build-up was a spectacle in and of itself during its opening stages, but as the days turned into months, the ceaseless chatter became significantly more boring than entertaining.
At one point the war of words saw an insulted Chael Sonnen react to Jon Jones’ allegations that he used steroids stating in an interview with Ariel Helwani that,
“I think somebody probably told him he should take it back. My side would have got to him; we would have sued him. We would have just said, “Prove it. That’s a pretty good accusation. Where’s your evidence?
Yeah (I still think he’s a good guy). He took it back. I haven’t accepted his apology, but I acknowledge he did give an apology. I don’t know why he would say that. I was very disappointed. That was a very reckless statement. I don’t wish to engage or out him for something. It wasn’t true and I resent it.”
Now we’ve seen threats of lawsuits being extended to competition from not only a professional fighter, but from one of the most prolific trash-talkers in the history of the sport. We were all treated to the exceptionally bizarre Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, which saw Sonnen channel his inner professional wrestler and exhibit some noticeably rehearsed microphone work, while Jones said very little and looked aggravated and horribly uncomfortable.
To be sure, when the fight was first announced to the media during the UFC’s conference call on the 17th season of the ultimate fighter, there was legitimate and substantial friction between the two fighters. It had me hyped for the fight. Both fighters were “shooting from the hip” so to speak. Nothing was rehearsed and nobody was making great use of awkward silences. It was simply the adrenaline-producing trash talk that immediately precedes two guys swinging for the fences.
I have no doubts that this fight will do great numbers, but at this point, the all-important hype has died down. The jawing between fighters has become stale, which makes this particular fight less of a must-see event. I’ll still tune in, but the overly drawn-out build-up to this fight has certainly decreased the level of excitement a tad.