Chael Sonnen admits he and Dan Henderson set up Jon Jones
You may recall that UFC 151 was supposed to be headlined by Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson on Sept. 1, 2012. Henderson pulled out of the fight because of a knee injury, and the entire card was cancelled after Jones declined a fight with Sonnen, who would have replaced Hendo on eight days’ notice.
UFC boss Dana White lashed out at Jones for declining the fight. Fans followed White’s lead and ripped Jones. Even I went after Jones for his painfully corporate attitude.
But now we’re seeing that Jones was being set up by Sonnen and Henderson, which isn’t too surprising.
According to MMA Fighting, Sonnen admitted on “UFC Tonight: Fight Edition” on Fuel TV on Sunday that he was tipped off about Hendo and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira’s recent injury, the latter of which allowed him to secure an upcoming fight with Shogun Rua.
“You know, [my fight with Rua] really got put together through Little Nog’s cowardice,” Sonnen said, per MMA Fighting. “I’ve been training for Shogun for a while. I knew this was going to happen. This kind of reminds me of the time me and Dan Henderson set up Jon Jones on eight days’ notice.”
According to MMA Fighting, Sonnen then turned to the camera and said, “he finally admitted it.”
Going back to last August, Jones suspected that Sonnen was tipped off about Hendo’s injury well before the fight was presented to him eight days in advance. Hendo and Sonnen are part of Team Quest, and they denied charges that they conspired to have Sonnen step in as a replacement. Even Sonnen’s manager denied that the teammates worked together on a bait and switch move. Evidence long indicated otherwise.
For example, Jones was only asked on Aug. 23 to face Sonnen as a replacement. But from Aug. 15-Aug. 23, Sonnen was baiting Jones over Twitter. Why would he start baiting Jones ahead of time unless he knew about Hendo’s injury? Something never sat right with that situation, and it’s good that Sonnen has finally admitted that he and Hendo worked together to set up Jones.
I still think that Jones could have taken the fight on short notice, destroyed Sonnen, and not caused a disaster with the cancellation of the fight card, but at least we now know he had more justification for turning down the fight. The two eventually coached against each other on TUF 17, and Jones destroyed Sonnen at UFC 159 in April. I guess all worked out fine in the end.