UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and undefeated contender Daniel Cormier took their simmering feud to a whole new level by getting involved in a wild brawl during Media Day in Las Vegas. The faceoff at the MGM Grand to promote their UFC 178 title clash ended in chaos when the two men became embroiled in a physical confrontation.
Jones raised Cormier’s temperature by putting his forehead against “DC’s” and Cormier responded by pushing the champion away. An angry Jones dropped his title belt and avoided an ill-fated attempt by UFC Senior Director of Public Relations Dave Sholler to play peacemaker, by throwing a left hand with bad intentions behind it. After that, the donnybrook was on.
Somehow, you get the impression that such an incident wouldn’t have occurred if UFC President Dana White had been on hand. White is on a rare vacation in Bora Bora but obviously caught wind of what went down. The Nevada State Athletic Commission and the UFC are both reviewing the incident and it’s very likely fines will be levied against both men.
While the incident was both unprofessional and inexcusable, it’s certainly raised the profile of UFC 178. Whatever penalties are incurred by Jones and Cormier, will be more than offset by the spike in PPV buys that this highly-publicized melee will generate. It’s been the talk of the sports world.
The 35-year-old Cormier has been gunning for Jones ever since he decided to leave the heavyweight division and campaign as a 205-pound competitor. He’s gone 2-0 since making the move down including victories over Patrick Cummins and Dan Henderson. Cormier has been involved in a war of words with the champion for several months and tensions are obviously quite high. “DC” received the unexpected opportunity to face Jones because of an injury suffered by Alexander Gustafsson.
Jones has made a record-setting seven successful light heavyweight defenses since winning the belt from Mauricio Rua at UFC 128. His most recent effort was a dominant five-round unanimous decision victory over Glover Teixeira at UFC 172. The current pound-for-pound king has a 20-1 career record with that only loss having come by disqualification.
With the injury bug having been a major UFC storyline in 2014, the tone of the conversation stemming from the Jones-Cormier brawl would have been much different, if either man had been forced out of their main event clash due to an injury. Fans want to see the best fighters settle their differences inside the Octagon, not at press conferences. Here’s hoping that both Jones and Cormier can handle their matters in a more civilized manner until their Sept.27 clash in Las Vegas.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports