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Posted on August 23, 2012 by Jack Thurman

UFC 151 Cancelled After Hendo Injury, Dana Implosion
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The slow motion trainwreck that is the UFC continued on Thursday in what could be one of the most alarming developments yet for the mixed martial arts promotion. The chaotic day began simply enough–Dan Henderson reported that he’d torn an ACL in training and wouldn’t be able to fight Jon Jones next Saturday in Las Vegas. Of course the UFC has a contingency plan for such things right? Guess again–despite the fact that MMA fighters get injured all the time the promotion didn’t have a ‘Plan B’. Nor did they have a remotely compelling light heavyweight contender to step in for the injured Henderson. That’s when the mayhem began and by the end of the day the entire event had to be scrapped.

Here’s the storyline as it played out on Thursday: Henderson gets injured. Dana White tries to salvage next weekend’s PPV and come up with a reasonably compelling fight that fans would buy on PPV. Enter Chael Sonnen–Sonnen not only said he’d fight on 8 days notice but would give light heavyweight champion Jones his purse if he’d agree to it. Jones wanted no part of Sonnen on 8 days notice and refused the fight. Dana White goes ballistic, cancels the event and calls Jones and his trainer Greg Jackson every name in the book going so far to imply that the two men are ‘killing the sport’.

Dana White’s histrionics aside, the entire messy situation rests at the feet of the bald headed blowhard and the promotion itself. The UFC tries to promote a ridiculous number of PPV events–almost one a week. On the weeks that there *is* no PPV event there’s often a free show on Fox or one of the other free TV outlets. So many shows means that none are ‘special’ and the fight cards supporting a usually mediocre main event are borderline embarrassing. The champions in a number of weight classes–including Jones at light heavyweight–don’t have any serious contenders. The UFC has done a horrible job of building new stars, which forces retreads like Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz to solider on well past their prime. Casual fans have tuned out, hardcore fans are losing interest, PPV buyrates are down, TV ratings are down and live shows have to be heavily ‘papered’ with freebies.

If Jon Jones *had* accepted the fight it would have bailed out the promotion for this week, but the myriad problems facing the UFC would remain. Rumors of the Henderson injury started to spread yesterday and resulted in some upward pressure on the UFC betting lines–Jones was bet up to as high as -850. In this case the inside information did no good as the bets are cancelled, along with the PPV event. The biggest problem facing the UFC isn’t Jones’ refusal to fight or Henderson’s injury–it’s their inability to accept responsibility for the mess they’ve made of their promotion. Instead they continue to blame anything and everything and as long as they do things will only get worse.

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