According to our latest homepage poll, a full 49% of you believe that Jon Jones deserves most of the blame for UFC 151′s abrupt cancellation, compared to just 27% for UFC president Dana White, the guy who actually canceled the event. Public opinion of Jones has gone from bad to irredeemably awful in the last week, and the apology he posted on twitter this weekend probably won’t help much:
“Carrying the cross for my company’s decision. If someone has to take the blame, I will accept full responsibility for the way UFC 151 was canceled. I want to sincerely apologize to all the other athletes/fans who’s time and money was waisted. [sic] I feel terrible about the way that was handled.”
Okay, so we’re just assuming that Jones is comparing himself to Jesus in that first sentence; he could also be comparing himself to Kimo Leopoldo. But considering that there’s already a conception of Jones as a person whose holier-than-thou attitude doesn’t match his behavior, all Jesus-based self-references should probably be avoided for the time being. It’s the kind of thing a publicist would tell Jones, if he still had one.
As for the apology itself, Jones says he takes the blame for “the way UFC 151 was canceled,” and “the way that was handled,” but not, of course, for what he actually did, which was turn down a fight on short-notice. It’s a subtle shift of blame back to who Jones really thinks should be blamed — the UFC and Dana White.
To me, the most interesting part of this saga will come later, when we see just how profoundly Jones’s relationship with the UFC will change. Jones has always promoted himself as a humble company man, but now that he’s experienced the full wrath of the UFC — and how quickly Dana can switch from your benefactor to your worst enemy as soon as you make a decision that doesn’t follow his script — loyalty to his bosses probably won’t be high on the light-heavyweight champion’s priority list.