After UFC president Dana White was forced to cancel the first Octagon event under his watch, White lambasted light heavyweight king Jon Jones (Pictured) for his reluctance to salvage UFC 151 by accepting a last-second scrap against Chael Sonnen.
White claimed he and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta were “disgusted” with the 25-year-old superstar. While White is still far from pleased about how things played out, it appears he has softened his stance against “Bones.”
“We haven’t talked since the incident,” White revealed during an interview on FUEL TV. “I’ve got no animosity towards Jones. We’ll find out how our relationship is as we move on. This thing is a little weird. It’s never happened before.
“Jon is a young guy and he’s made mistakes that young people make. Who doesn’t at his age? If I went back to being 23 years old with a ton of fame and a ton of money, that’s when you make all your mistakes. The great thing about making your mistakes in your 20s is by the time you’ve established yourself in your late 20s and 30s, you’ve already made all your mistakes and you can conduct yourself the way you should.”
At the same time, MMA’s head honcho doesn’t regret a single thing he said about Jones or his longtime coach, Greg Jackson. However, White is clearly showing far more compassion towards his golden boy than he did two weeks ago, which will go a long way in repairing the burnt bridges.
“I give Jon Jones a lot of slack,” White admitted. “The guy is young. I’m never going to tell you because Jon Jones didn’t fight in 151 that he’s a terrible fighter. He’s a phenomenal fighter. Anyone who’s watched the UFC long enough and knows my personality, they know how I am.
“I’ve dealt with the baddest dudes in the world for the last 12 years, and that’s what I like doing. I like fighters. I like how they think. They can be a little hard to deal with, but that’s part of the game.”
White also acknowledged Dan Henderson’s two-week silence regarding his knee injury was also to blame for UFC 151’s cancellation. Jones now defends his throne against Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 on September 22nd.