With Dan Henderson (29-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC) injured, the UFC has canceled next week’s UFC 151 event.
Henderson was scheduled to fight UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones (16-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC) in the headliner of the top-heavy pay-per-view card.
According to UFC president Dana White, recent middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen (28-12-1 MMA, 6-5 UFC) offered to take the bout, but Jones told him he wouldn’t fight him on eight days’ notice. That drew White’s rage, as evident on today’s media call.
UFC 151 was slated to take place next Saturday, Sept. 1, at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. It’s not clear what will happen to the card’s other 10 matchups.
According to White, Jones now will fight Lyoto Machida (18-3 MMA, 10-3 UFC) in the headliner of UFC 152, which take place Sept. 22 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.
According to White, Henderson, who was competing for the first time since a Fight of the Year win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in November, suffered a partial MCL tear. White isn’t sure of a time table for the fighter’s return.
“He tried to train and tried to continue to work out,” White said of Henderson’s knee injury. “He saw doctors, and there was nothing we could do to save that fight.”
UFC 151 has been canceled because light-heavyweight contender Dan Henderson has a knee injury and champion Jon Jones declined UFC President Dana White’s request that Jones fight Chael Sonnen in Henderson’s place.
“The is the first time ever a sitting champ has turned down a fight and forced a cancellation,” UFC Chairman Lorenzo Feritta told The Times.
White says he was surprised and disappointed that Jones turned down a fight with Sonnen, forcing the cancellation.
“We’ve never, ever had a fighter refuse to fight someone,” White said at the news conference announcing the cancellation. “As much as he’s won and with all the things he’s accomplished in a short amount of time, he’s been a champion that hasn’t been very popular. I don’t think this is going to do wonders for his popularity.”
White indicated that he is also unhappy with Jones’ trainer, Greg Jackson, calling him a “sport killer” for telling his fighter that accepting the Sonnen fight on short notice would be a mistake.
UFC 151 was scheduled for Sept. 1 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Henderson said that he injured his knee while defending a takedown in practice. He said doctors recommended he stay off the knee for three weeks in order to avoid surgery.