As discussed yesterday, Jon Jones will now not have the surgery on his hand which was the reason for pulling out of the planned UFC 133 bout with Rashad Evans. I pointed out at the time that Jones' manager Malki Kawa dropped the ball in how the situation was handled. Rather than shut down their public statements, Kawa continued tweeting all yesterday and today. In an effort to smooth the situation over he actually made things worse by tweeting gems like this in terms of why Jones vs. Evans can't simply be moved to August 6:
RT not enough time. June 11 to aug 6 is less than 8 weeks and he's coming off an injury.
As Mike Fagan pointed out: 8 weeks is 56 days, or exactly 8 weeks. And he's also not "coming off an injury." He has had this issue with his hand since college and is now choosing not to get it fixed. It's really time for Kawa and Jones to step away from the media, formulate a smart media plan and then execute it. At a time where desperate excuses aren't needed, Kawa continues to throw them out.
Let's run down the way that Kawa allowed the situation to play out in public one more time:
- Jones and Rashad is on the table and is, without a doubt, one of the biggest fights on the UFC's schedule. It is also the kind of fight that could turn a star into a superstar.
- Jones pulled out of the bout needing to have surgery on his hand.
- Rather than play up that this is something that he "needed" to have fixed for the good of his career, Jones was allowed to talk in public about how it is a situation he has been dealing with since college which doesn't impact his fighting but he just wanted to get corrected now.
- Once Evans was tied up with Phil Davis, Jones and Kawa announce that Jones was told he didn't need the surgery (which was always the case) and that he was making the choice to not have it. This after previously stating that he was choosing to have a surgery he admittedly didn't need.
- Then, Kawa goes on Twitter to say that Jones will fight again before the end of the year...just not against Rashad.
- When pushed on why Jones can't fight Rashad on August 8, he claims that 8 weeks is not 8 weeks and that Jones will be coming off an injury which has existed since college.
Look, Jones doesn't have to actually be ducking Evans for it to look like Jones is ducking Evans. Kawa is failing at his job. He is making a fighter who had built up a reputation as an unstoppable wrecking ball appear like he's going out of his way to avoid a fight with a guy who may be "in his head."
It would not have been hard when announcing that he was pulling out of the fight to drop some media friendly soundbites "I want my hand at 100% when I use it to break his jaw" or, at the very least, avoid ever saying that you're choosing a surgery you don't need over a fight.
Kawa is dropping the ball on, what should be, the easiest fighter to sell in the entire sport. It's making for a great example of just how few legitimate sports management types there are in the MMA game at this point.