After the announcement that UFC 151 was cancelled, the MMA world was turned upside down. During yesterday's conference call, Dana White said they will be losing "shitloads of money" because of the cancellation and squarely pointed the blame on Jon Jones and his trainer Greg Jackson, going as far as calling Greg Jackson a "fucking sport killer" and saying Jones has "not been popular" and "Lorenzo and I are disgusted".
When Dana was asked if the PPV could've been saved if a more bankable co-main event was moved up, Dana went back to talking about Jon Jones.
Fact #1: The Co-Main Event Was Weak
When then-UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar pulled out of his fight with Shane Carwin at UFC 106 due to an illness, instead of finding a new opponent for Carwin, they pushed Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin into the main event slot. When Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard both suffered injuries prior to their fight at UFC 130, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Matt Hamill was promoted into the main event slot.
Would Dana consider pushing Jake Ellenberger vs Jay Hieron into the main-event? The fight was weak from a fan-perspective, and it just got relegated onto a free card on FX. The remainder of the now defunct PPV card have been relegated to free cards on FX and Fuel.
Fact #2: Jon Jones Was at a Distinct Disadvantage
Jon Jones defended his decision by claiming it was unwise to defend his title against such a tough opponent with 8 days notice (which was essentially 3 days notice due to media obligations during the week leading up to the fight). Some argue that his prospective opponent Chael Sonnen would also have been at a similar disadvantage, excpect for the fact that Chael had been training with Dan Henderson for this fight. Chael would have already had a gameplan in mind while helping Dan train for this fight. Jon would not.
Chael would go into this fight with a chance at a the UFC light-heavyweight title. Everything to gain, nothing to lose.
Jon Jones would be looking at defending his title against a very tricky opponent with zero time to come up with a game plan and his title at stake.
Fact #3: Dana White Put Himself Into This Situation
During a year riddled with injuries and an unprecedented number of less-than-stellar fight cards, Dana White did not have an appropriate back up plan in place for this PPV card. He could've moved the Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann fight into the UFC 151 main event spot. He could've asked Matt Hamill if he wanted a shot (as his original UFC 152 opponent Roger Hollett had been forced out of the bout with an injury). He could've moved around numerous fights to make it work, but it was just easier to blame Jones. In fact, after he cancelled the card, MMA Fighting reported that Anderson Silva said he would step up and fight.
So in the end, who is to blame for a weak UFC 151 card from coming to fruitition: a smart champion like Jon Jones or an obviously overbooked promoter in Dana White?