Matt Mitrione Turns Down Cormier: Who Makes The Call To Turn Down A Fight?

Jon Jones, UFC

Jon Jones, UFC

Jon Jones turned down Chael Sonnen on a few days notice and was scrutinized by the majority of the MMA community for the entire cancellation of UFC 151. After consulting with his coaches, Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, Jones turned down the fight purely for safety measures in terms of his legacy. There are obviously numerous factors that could be inferred in this case, but should a champion be turning down fights?

Anderson Silva also turned down a fight with top middleweight contender Chris Weidman and will instead face Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. Silva and manager Ed Soares did not see Weidman as a feasible opponent for the Brazilian, but who exactly deems this as a worthy excuse? Could it be that Weidman is that good or is it true that there are tougher challenges that Weidman? Why must a fighter and his manager decide this and not the promoter?

Another Brazilian from Black House MMA and former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida mysteriously turned down a fight with Jon Jones (that Vitor Belfort eventually took and lost to at UFC 152). There may be a clearer reason behind Machida’s decline since he suffered a submission loss to Jones in late 2011 and wanted to prepare himself accordingly. Machida’s case did not boil over too well and is now rumored to face Dan Henderson upon his return.

Glover Teixeira, UFC

Then comes the interesting story of Glover Teixeira. It is believed that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua turned down a fight with Teixeira because he would rather “be cut” than fight him… or at least that’s Dana White’s side of the story. Shogun’s camp believed Teixeira was not a “big enough name” for the former Pride FC warrior. News recently broke that Rashad Evans was the latest to turn down a fight with Teixeira, in which he would serve as a replacement to his former foe and the injured Jackson.

“I only had three weeks to fight and I haven’t been training. I was like, ‘no way, not with that notice in Brazil,” said Evans. UFC 153 is less than two weeks away and takes place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Evan’s reasoning seems to be the most legitimate. It is also interesting to note that all these fighters are loosely tied to one another and that most of the names mentioned are either dropping out of fights or have their names jumbled up as potential replacements.

This is recurring problem for the UFC, and the promoters must handle it accordingly. In the heyday of Pride FC, fighters would sometimes take fights on days, if not hours notice. MMA has come a long way from simply taking your opponent head on, guns blazing; it has become more of a demanding sport with emphasis on safety and proper game plans. It will become a problem if certain fights do not materialize because of fighter demands. Not taking a fight on days noticed might not be a faulty crime, but refusing to fight someone because of their status or business reasons certainly may be.

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