Court is now in session.
The SBNation MMA community is presiding in the case of The People vs. UFC 151. In the aftermath of the trouble, upheaval, unrest and controversy visited upon the MMA community by the cancellation of said event, and the extensive debate following same, all the alleged perpetrators of the fiasco have been arraigned before the Court.
The People, having had a few days to weigh and debate the evidence, and having calmed down from the high emotion triggered by said event, will now pass judgment upon the defendants. The defendants are now arraigned in alphabetical order, and to each will be read the charges against him. After the reading of the charges, the People will pass sentence, and the judgment recorded for posterity. All defendants are assumed innocent until proven guilty by the judgment of the community.MR. CHAEL PATRICK SONNEN
Mr. Sonnen, please stand. Please put down the American flag. This is a court of law, and we will not permit jingoism here. Here are the charges levied against you (please note that your prior felony and suspension for using performance-enhancing substances are admissible as commentary upon your character):
1. Devious Machination
It is alleged that you did obtain, far in advance of the rest of the world, information that Mr. Henderson had obtained an injury which would prevent him from fighting. You then schemed to replace him as the challenger to Mr. Jones by opening hostilities with the latter, and goading him into a public and belligerent exchange of words, thus planting the idea in the head of Mr. White to nominate you to replace Mr. Henderson.
2. Disrespect for your fellow fighters
Having been defeated in your challenge to the Middleweight champion, you realized that another title shot would not come your way for years, if at all. So being a lover of the spotlight, you deserted your division for the Light-heavyweight division, in the hope that a title shot therein would come sooner. You however, failed to respect the rights of other contenders who were in front of you in the queue to face the champion, and launched a plot, campaign and intrigue to jump the queue, to the detriment of the professional and financial interest of your peers.
MR. DANIEL JEFFERY HENDERSON
Mr. Henderson, please stand. No, you may not use your walker. We understand you are a senior citizen, but this is a court of law. Here are the allegations made against you:
1. Archaic and reckless training methods
You have failed to incorporate modern, safe and professional training methods into your training regimen, resulting in your injury during sparring. You hold on to an outdated idea of professional machismo that believes going all-out in training and sparring is the way to prepare for a fight. Your failure to train safely and scientifically- i.e. training smarter, not harder- was a violation of the expectations we have of a top professional athlete. Your resultant injury was the catalyst for the cancellation of UFC 151.
2. Irresponsible information management
You are accused of withholding information about your injury from the UFC management until 8 days before your scheduled fight. Had you not done so, they would have had more time to find a replacement for you. Also, with more time to train for a different opponent, Mr. Jones might not have refused to fight, thus scuppering the entire card. It is further alleged that you leaked, or allowed to be leaked, information on your injury to your friend Mr. Sonnen, who used this non-public information to his advantage as he launched a scheme to replace you.
MR. DANA WHITE
Mr. Dana White, please stand. Bailiff, please hand Mr. White a handkerchief to wipe the perspiration off his head. Thank you. Mr. White, here are the charges levied against you:
1. Managerial Incompetence
It is charged that you demonstrated poor managerial judgment and acts of omission on two counts:
- That you failed to implement a proper ranking and matchmaking system in the UFC. Instead, you preferred to enhance your own power and importance, by relying on an arbitrary system of matchmaking that allowed fighters to negotiate their own fights. The direct result was that your own Light-heavyweight champion, in keeping with the atmosphere you created, felt justified in turning down a fight, leading directly to the cancellation of UFC 151.
- That you failed to practice proper contingency planning and risk management. Specifically, despite knowing that injury is a normal business risk in the UFC, you approved the content of UFC 151 without any thought to the possibility of a 41 year-old fighter getting injured. You did not ensure that other fights on the card were of sufficient fan interest to be promoted to main event status. You also did not identify alternates for Mr. Jones and Henderson in advance, who could remain prepared to step in at short notice.
2. Naivette and Impulsiveness
As a CEO, you are expected to demonstrate sound judgment, self-control and even-handedness. However, you violated this on two counts:
- You allowed yourself to be a pawn in the intricate machinations of Mr. Sonnen, who hatched and executed a plot to insert himself as the challenger to Mr. Jones. You did in fact nominate Mr. Sonnen to fight Mr. Jones, and fulsomely praised Mr. Sonnen for his courage in accepting said fight, failing to realize that you were being used.
- You lost your self-control and did publicly and vehemently disparage Mr. Jones, in a manner designed to damage his reputation and earning power as your champion. This directly hurts the future revenues of the UFC, and is thus a violation of your fiduciary duty to act in the company's best interests.
MR. GREGORY JACKSON
Mr. Jackson, please stand. Please put away your bong. Smoking psychotropic substances is disrespectful to the court. Here are the charges against you:
It is alleged that by taking an unacceptably cerebral and Machiavellian approach to the sport of MMA, you have caused an erosion of the warrior spirit on which the sport was founded. In keeping with this practice, you did advise Mr. Jones to decline the offered fight with Mr. Sonnen, on the excuse that there was insufficient time to prepare and execute a plan for defeating Mr. Sonnen. Relying on your counsel, Mr. Jones declined to fight, an act that was in violation of both the Samurai ethos and the expectations of MMA fans.
You are accused of using your charismatic personality to manipulate and influence members of your inner circle, including Mr. Jones, to the enhancement of you own personal power and influence. As a result, a thriving cult of personality has been created in your gym. It is alleged that in keeping with this, like a controlling husband who doesn't want his wife to do anything without his approval lest she discover she doesn't need him, the real reason you did not want Mr. Jones to fight Mr. Sonnen was that he would have defeated Mr. Sonnen without your guidance or game-planning, thus highlighting your own redundancy.
MR. JONATHAN DWIGHT JONES
Mr. Jones, please stand. Kindly remove the Nike cap, thank you. And the Nike sunglasses. Thank you. Here are the charges leveled against you:
You are accused of violating the expectations commonly held of a martial artist and MMA champion, by refusing to fight when called upon to do so. By admitting you declined the fight with Mr. Sonnen because you felt you were unable to sufficiently prepare, you acted ingloriously and defamed the reputation of MMA as a sport of modern warriors. This was despite the fact that Mr. Sonnen had virtually no chance of prevailing against you, being smaller, less-skilled and under-trained at the time compared to you. You also displayed an inability to resist the undue influence of Mr. Jackson, who has entrenched himself as your Svengali to his benefit and your professional detriment.
2. Poor judgment
You are accused of failing to realize that the status and privileges you enjoy as a champion in the UFC, place upon your shoulders the obligation to look beyond your personal self-interest in making decisions. This attitude caused you to denigrate the interests of your employers the UFC, and to resist their imprecations to you to fight Mr. Sonnen to save UFC 151 from cancellation. You also failed to reflect on, or to care about, the hardship and inconvenience caused to your fellow fighters who lost a paycheck, and the fans whose holiday plans were disrupted by said cancellation. You thus damaged your own personal and professional reputation among MMA fans, your relationship with your bosses, and your camaraderie with your fellow fighters.
Having taken record of the charges against the defendants, the Court Clerk moved to take the verdict of The Community on the guilt of each defendant via Poll. However, it was discovered that SB Nation had unaccountably disabled the fanpost polling mechanism, resulting in a fiasco similar to UFC151: a trial without a verdict. However, Community members willing to express their verdict on the defendants' guilt can respond in the comments, to this putative poll:
Who in your opinion is Most Guilty of the defendants?