Dan Henderson says that the UFC decision to match Chael Sonnen with Jon Jones next April “degrades the sport of MMA”.
Henderson had been due to fight Jones at UFC 151 but pulled out with an injury one week before. The UFC couldn’t get anyone to fight Jones on such short notice - except Sonnen, who said he would do it. But Jones refused to accept Sonnen as a stand-in and so the event was cancelled.
Both Henderson and Sonnen are members of Team Quest and have been close friends for years. But Henderson was upset when the UFC announced this week that Sonnen would be taking a coaching role on TUF and then fighting Jones for the title next year.
“I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to sh-t talking school,” he tweeted to UFC president Dana White on Wednesday. But that was also interpreted as a swipe at Sonnen and fans wondered whether there were any hard feelings on Henderson’s part towards his team-mate.
Henderson addressed that today in another Twitter post, “And just to make it clear, I will always hv love for Chael and don't blame him for saying yes to a big opportunity. But giving him that fight rt now degrades the sport of MMA,” he wrote.
But on yesterday’s conference call, UFC president was entirely unapologetic about giving Sonnen a TUF coaching role. And there has been an unspoken implication that Henderson’s failure to notify the UFC of his injury in timely fashion - he sustained it two weeks before he told them - has cost him his title shot.
“Dan Henderson had the opportunity to fight for the title. He got injured. Now Jones is injured, Jones is injured until frickin’ April… Every one of these guys that are bitching about title shots now, were offered the fight and turned it down,” he said.
“They refused to fight Jon Jones and now they are bummed out because Chael stepped up on eight days notice and he’s going to coach The Ultimate Fighter and fight him?