Making sense out of Jon Jones vs. Chael SonnenPosted on October 16, 2012, 06:39 PM by Andreas Hale
After all the talk of a super fight between Jon Jones and Anderson Silva after Silva's legalized manslaughter of Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153, the entire MMA world has been thrown a curveball as it was announced that Jones will coach opposite Chael Sonnen on the next season of TUF. And we all know what that means: Jones vs. Sonnen on April 27.
Considering all that has transpired in the past couple of months, how the hell did this happen?
The answer is easy: good business.
Forget about Jon Jones turning down a last minute fight with Sonnen that resulted in the cancelation of UFC 151. Don't even think about the tantalizing Chael Sonnen vs. Forrest Griffin fight that would have been the perfect introduction for Sonnen into the 205 division. And that whole Jones-Silva fight? Yeah, scrap that too.
Don't think of it as a reward for Jon Jones, consider this to be more about the UFC injecting their flailing reality show with some much needed adrenaline. We all know that Sonnen makes for good television and he can pretty much talk people into believing that he has a legitimate shot at pole vaulting over the moon. Having him as the coach for TUF opposite a supreme talent like Jon Jones can only result in quite possibly the best on-air exchanges since Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson coached the heavyweights.
What's that you say? Sonnen doesn't deserve a title shot? Who cares! This is all about business and if the UFC can drum up some interest in TUF -- which has been dying a slow death the past two years -- while reeling in casual fans, Dana White sees it as a win-win. Jon Jones still doesn't think Sonnen deserves a title shot; Sonnen still thinks Jon Jones absolutely sucks; Most die-hard fans figure that Jones' demolition of Sonnen will make Stephan Bonnar's obliteration at the hands of Anderson Silva look like a competitive scrap. But none of that matters when you are trying to rehab your company for casual fans after a year that hasn't quite been the banner year the UFC anticipated when inking the deal with FOX.
All that talk about Anderson Silva facing Jones has pretty much gone up in smoke. It's not like Silva wanted the fight to begin with. Even though Dana White felt that he could coerce Silva into fighting Greg Jackson's prized pupil, the reality is that a bout with Georges St-Pierre or a middleweight title defense makes much more sense. Having Jon Jones tied up with TUF will also help figure out some things in 205. You know, like, who the hell is going to fight Jones next. Keeping Jones busy will allow the likes of Glover Texieria, Phil Davis and Alexander Gustafsson to stake their claim as top contenders. Having Jones linger only means that he has to be fed somebody who clearly isn't ready. So, may as well throw him in there with a lunatic like Chael Sonnen.
This is all really good timing ultimately. At this point, the UFC can't afford to try and appease die-hard fans. Their job is to bring in as many eyeballs as possible. If that means making fights that we can't really comprehend, then so be it.
Act like you won't watch TUF if you want to, but you will. Just like you'll watch Jones vs. Sonnen on April 27.