White interview explains UFC 151 cancellation
September 9, 2012
Dana White’s recent appearance on Fuel TV to explain the UFC 151 cancellation gave some perspective on his comments toward Jon Jones. Without truly admitting fault, he indicated that he was not mad at Jones and attributed some level of fault toward Henderson.
In his interview with Ariel Helwani, a toned down White stated that he had “no regrets” with how the UFC 151 press conference was handled. He said that there was nothing he would take back from his comments at the press conference.
Give Helwani some credit in this interview. Although one might argue he’s feeding pre-planned questions to White, he does illicit the information about whether Henderson was to blame for the cancellation of UFC 151. It appears that the blame shifts to Henderson but White does stand by his comments about Jones not stepping up to take a fight.
White’s interview takes on the form of a non-apology apology. While he does not take back anything said at the press conference, he does appear to step back from his initial comments and comes out to address the fact that Henderson is also at fault for not letting him know that he may not be able to fight September 1.
I am interested as to why this interview did not take place earlier with White. Maybe it was White’s travel schedule, maybe White needed perspective, but it would seem that White would want to get out in front of his press conference to explain his comments toward Jones. Aside from helping the ratings for UFC Tonight on Fuel, White’s interview was a way to (calmly) explain his side of the story to fans. While most of us get the new from the internet, White made it known his thought process behind the cancellation and the Machida booking.
What are we to make of White’s “no regrets” with the handling of UFC 151. While we understand his brand of administration of the UFC, the strong words he had for Jones and Jackson seemed harsh. What about the UFC’s press release sent out shortly after the press conference entitled, “UFC 151 Cancelled, Champ Refuses New Opponent”? Also, and maybe as bad, was the press conference announcement that Lyoto Machida would face Jones when it was never confirmed that Machida would accept the fight. From the UFC perspective, the lack of a contingency plan was surprising. Basically, the UFC believed that two fighters wouldn’t turn down fights, but it happened and the fallout had to embarrass the UFC. For an organization that prided itself on having its fighters step in when called upon, the UFC faced two fighters that declined fights in less than two days.
The cancellation of UFC 151 could have been handled with more care. While White admits no wrong in voicing his displeasure with Jon Jones and Greg Jackson he did say Jackson was a “sport killer”. White had every right to voice his disappointment that Jones was not taking another fight, but he should have indicated the same to Henderson for not at least putting him notice about his injury so that White could have planned a contingency.