Malki Kawa explains the decision not to reschedule Jon Jones vs. Rashad EvansPosted on May 17, 2011, 12:13 AM by Joey Santosus
After a convincing victory over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128 to capture the Light Heavyweight belt, it was immediately confirmed that Jon "Bones" Jones would make his first title defense against none other than his former friend and Jackson's MMA training partner "Suga" Rashad Evans.
It was a bout that quickly became one of the most anticipated grudge matches in recent memory, so it came as no surprise when news that Jones would need surgery and have to pull out of the fight was met with disappointment among fans. However, when the champ revealed that he had decided against surgery just shortly after Evans was given a new opponent, that disappointment quickly turned to speculation that Jones may have exaggerated the severity of his injury in order to get out of the fight.
Jones' manager, Malki Kawa, however, has adamantly denied the claims, explaining that the decision not to reschedule the bout was a precautionary measure based on the possibility of the injury becoming a recurring issue in the comings months.
"The issue is, let's just say that Jon's hand isn't healed by then, let's say that Jon goes back to training camp in June or July and he goes and punches the mit and it goes and swells back up again and we decide that surgery is the best option because now that it's been healed and the swelling has gone away, lets say that the pain immediately comes back. Then Jon says, 'You know what, my hand is really killing.' Let's say that that happens, then what? Rashad is going to miss out on another opportunity to fight. So the fact of the matter is, I told the UFC, until Jon has all the pain and swelling in his hand go away, I didn't feel comfortable scheduling a fight. That's why they didn't schedule it. We couldn't commit to an Aug. fight."
"What I'm trying to say today is that at no point in time are we ever going to duck anybody. We're never going to say no to a fight, whether it's Rampage or it's Machida or it's Rashad; it doesn't matter, we're always going to do the fight. My concern as a manager is that my fighter is 100 percent healthy - For more from Kawa on the situation visit MMAMania.com
While there has been no exact date set for his return, Jones is expected to resume training when his cast is removed next month with hopes of competing again before the end of 2011. If successful in his UFC 133 match-up with Phil Davis, Evans will likely retain his position as number one contender, however, both Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida have also been mentioned as possible challengers.
Photo: UFC fighter Jon Jones before his fight against Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC-Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko at the San Diego Sports Arena on August 1, 2010, in San Diego, California. Francis Specker