The primary reason for the cancellation is Dan Henderson’s right knee–specifically, the top medial collateral ligament (MCL) in that knee. Henderson was to have faced light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at the event. White proposed Chael Sonnen as a replacement for Henderson, but Jones refused to fight Sonnen
Cue those who will say that Jones is ducking Sonnen. Even White hinted that he was disappointed in his light heavyweight champ.
“I’m stunned,” White said. “We’ve never had a situation where this happened before, where a champion wouldn’t step up to fight.”
White was quick to praise Sonnen for volunteering to step up and fight on such short notice. “Chael’s been out there talking all this crazy sh*t about Jones, but he proved that he not only talks the talk, he walks the walk,” he said.
Henderson revealed that he won’t need surgery on his knee, which he injured in practice, but he has been advised to stay off it for a few weeks.
Like White, Henderson sounded surprised and disappointed that Jones wouldn’t agree to fight Sonnen.
“This is the first time in UFC history that the champion wouldn’t step up and fight [a replacement fighter] and I was pretty shocked to hear that,” Henderson said. “It’s unbelievable to me that he wouldn’t take that ‘the show must go on’ attitude.
In a desperate bid to save the event, White reportedly called a bunch of fighters to see if any of them would take a fight with Jones on short notice. Sonnen was the only one who stepped up.
This is the first time in over a decade the the UFC has been forced to cancel and event outright after the fights had already been announced.