UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been somewhat of a polarizing figure since he claimed the title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua last year. That doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
UFC president Dana White said Jones was the first champion to ever turn down a fight, as “Bones” declined to face Chael Sonnen and keep UFC 151 on schedule for September 1. Dan Henderson, the original opponent for Jones, was forced out with a knee injury.
“Jon Jones said I’m not fighting Chael Sonnen with eight days notice,” said White during a special conference call on Thursday making the announcement. “That’s something that’s never happened in UFC history. We’ve never had a champion that’s turned down a fight, it’s never happened.”
Jones will now face Lyoto Machida in a rematch of a 2011 fight in which Jones won via second round submission. The bout will serve as the main event for the new UFC 151 (formerly UFC 152) on September 22 in Toronto.
White said that Sonnen accepted the fight and his production team went to work Wednesday night putting together commercials. However, Thursday morning, White’s mood was changed when Jones turned down the fight.
“I was gonna do this call and it was going to be a much different call,” White said. “One thing I never thought in a million years would happen, happened (in cancelling an entire event).”