The fallout from the cancellation of the Jon Jones and Dan Henderson Lightweight Championship match is just beginning. Rumors flew about Henderson suffering a knee injury and things heated up when Chael Sonnen began angling for a title shot it raised things to a fever pitch.
Now everything it out in the open and the UFC has picked Lyoto Machida to rematch with Jones at UFC 152, but things have to be pushed back due to Jones' wish to not face a new opponent. In the UFC's history there have been cards that have struggled for verities of reasons, from injuries to legal problems, and the UFC has always found a way to have the show go on. Cards locations have been moved, dates have changed, but a card has never been out right call off.
UFC 151 now holds that dubious honor. For the fighters this is crushing as this not only means they held camp for nothing but also calls off a much needed payday. For the UFC however this was one of those times in business that the leadership needs to make a hard decision and in this case the UFC made the right one.
SBN coverage of UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson
SBN coverage of UFC 152: Jones vs. Machida II
more after the jump....
UFC 151 was the poster child of the UFC being stretched too thin. Besides the main event the card was severely lacking in star power or impact fighting talent. The MMA media has spent much of the last year since the Fox deal speaking to the idea of UFC cards becoming top heavy and getting watered down. UFC 151 was a case study for that argument and when Jon Jones refused to fight on that card, the UFC saw very quickly that there was no way that card would be successful. With out Jones at the top of it, this card quickly transformed into a barely passable Fuel TV card.
Calling this card off is going to cost the UFC money and it hurts the fighters who themselves are perfectly fit to fight, but if this show had been put on it likely would have lost the UFC money on the whole. At that point the UFC was right to simply cut their losses and kill the card.
The benefit out of all of this is that the UFC 152 has become immensely stronger with the addition of Jones vs Machida at the top of the card. It now features a Jon Jones title defense, the first ever UFC Flyweight Championship fight, Michael Bisping's match with Brian Stann, Jimmy Hettes' first fight after recovering from injury, Vinny Magalhaes' return to the UFC, and Charle Oliveira vs Cub Swanson, which promises to be a fantastic scrap.
So while for the fans it stinks that there will be no MMA go with their college football next weekend, in the the end the UFC made a very hard decision that resulted in a stronger card. And if UFC 152 turns into a smashing success, perhaps this idea of combining two rather lackluster cards into one, very successful card will be a lesson the UFC can take away from this.