Dana White gives insight on why Jones and Sonnen became TUF coachesPosted on October 17, 2012, 06:00 PM by Andreas Hale
The UFC's announcement to have light heavyweight champion Jon Jones coach opposite Chael Sonnen on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter has become one of the most polarizing decisions in recent MMA memory. Some fans were enthralled with the idea, while many die-hard MMA fans were unhappy that a fighter who just lost in a title fight at 185 would get a crack at the 205 champion over more qualified competition.
"We got the word that Jon couldn't fight until April it made sense for him to do TUF," White said while mentioning that Jones' arm is still healing from the armbar submission attempt by Vitor Belfort at UFC 152. Finding out Jones would be unable to compete, White quickly went to work on getting him to take part in season 17 of TUF. With fans clamoring for a Jones-Sonnen fight after the 205 champ turned down the short notice showdown -- and the subsequent cancellation of UFC 151 -- the idea of putting these two together on TUF became the best move for both parties. Meanwhile, White figures that he can pit some of the top light heavyweights against each other to create a bonafide #1 contender for the Jones-Sonnen winner in mid-2013.
"Lyoto Machida and Dan Henderon can fight now with Alexander Gustaffson and Shogun Rua fighting in December," White continued. "Everything will keep on moving. Chael wants this fight. The fans want this even though now say it's ridiculous. Jon said he wants to whoop Chael's ass and wanted to defend against whoever. They'll fight and whoever is the top guy at 205 can face Jon next."
Although there were fans that were unhappy with the decision, Dan Henderson immediately took to Twitter to voice his displeasure about Sonnen vaulting over him to get the title fight. "I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to shit talking school," Henderson said. While Henderson may have a valid point considering that the only reason that he didn't get to face Jon Jones was due to an injury, others in the 205 division who feel that Sonnen may not deserve the title shot won't get much sympathy from White.
"All of the top contenders who are pissed off were the same ones that I called and turned down the fight," White said, seemingly aimed at Lyoto Machida. But when asked about Henderson, White expressed that he was unsure of Hendo's recovery and had to make a decision.
"I don't know about Dan's health," White continued. "They said it would be a few weeks but then a few weeks later I hear he's not ready. We have to pull the trigger if guys aren't ready to fight because we have to move on. I don't even know if Dan would do The Ultimate Fighter."
The next season of TUF will begin filming on October 29th and premiere on a new night on FX in January.