An injury to heavyweight contender Dan Henderson has forced him to pull out of the main event of UFC 151 against champion Jon Jones.
The card was scheduled for September 1 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC President Dana White made the announcement Thursday that Henderson has a partial tear in his MCL. It was unclear when Henderson’s injury occurred.
White tried his best to save the fight, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Chael Sonnen accepted White’s offer to replace Henderson. However, the champ refused to fight Sonnen saying he wasn’t going to fight him on only eight days notice.
“For the first time in 11 years we’re gong to cancel an event,” said White during a Thursday conference call. “This is probably one of my all-time lows.”
Sonnen was a middleweight contender who was willing to climb a division to face Jones. Since he didn’t want any part of Sonnen, Jones will now defend his heavyweight title in a rematch with “The Dragon”, Lyoto Machida. The rematch is set for September, 22 in Toronto.
Initially White said it would be rebranded as UFC 151 due to the cancelation, but after the call it was announced the event will remain UFC 152.
Jones defeated Sonnen in their first fight by submission in the second round at UFC 140 last December.
White called Greg Jackson, Jones’ trainer, a “sport killer” for advising Jones to turn down Sonnen. Jackson later said he was “confused” by White’s reaction.
“If Chael is the No. 1 contender, if he’s earned that status, we’d be happy to fight him, and not Machida, in Toronto.” Jackson added, “It wasn’t the opponent. It was the notice.”