At the very moment Dana White was telling a furious conference call audience that Greg Jackson is “a f--king sport killer”, his target was on the phone to Mauro Ranallo’s radio show on Sirius Sports in Canada, defending his advice to Jon Jones.
White’s ire was promoted by Jackson telling Jones that to accept Chael Sonnen as a stand-in opponent on eight days notice would be the “worst decision of his career”. Sonnen had been offered after original opponent Dan Henderson was forced out of the September 1 fight with a knee ligament injury.
“I was asked if it was smart to take a fight on three days notice and I don't think it's smart to do that. Three days to fight a guy that caliber is not a smart thing to do. I'm not trying to ruin the sport or cancel an event. I don't know about that stuff, but thought it wasn't a wise course of action,” Jackson told Ranallo.
“It's a serious fight with serious ramifications. I didn't mean to cancel an event and was asked to give an opinion and I gave it.”
Zuffa decided to cancel UFC 151, the first time that a UFC event has ever been cancelled. Coming on eight days notice, the company is now going to take what White terms “a massive financial hit”.
White has been joined by most fans in decrying Jones and Jackson for not taking Sonnen as a replacement opponent. But Jackson and a minority say that the fact the event had to be cancelled due to Jones not being on it means the card was maybe too thin to begin with.
“I didn't know they had it all riding on one fight. It's one of those things - as a trainer, I'll give you my opinion. I'm not a yes man, I do what's best for my guy. I'm surprised by the veracity of [White’s] response but that's my opinion. In this case, it's a world title fight in the best sport in the world on three days notice. This isn't backyard brawling, it's a professional sport,” Jackson says.
White is unlikely to be moved. He practically roared at conference call listeners as he described Jackson as “a weirdo” and said the two-time Coach of the Year should never be interviewed again “by anybody except a psychiatrist”.