Chael Sonnen won’t let up on Jon Jones.
The retired ‘American Gangster’ recently said ‘Bones’ has regressed in his abilities because he’s no longer on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Now, he’s back blasting Jones’ abilities – or lack thereof – to sell out a fight.
Speaking in a recent video on his YouTube channel (transcribed by BJPENN.com), Sonnen compared Jones’ situation to that of UFC featherweight champ Max Holloway. ‘Blessed’ recently beat Frankie Edgar in the main event of UFC 240. But he was also coming off a loss to Dustin Poirier where he was pieced up at certain points.
Sonnen believes a fighter, even a great one, needs to have that small shadow of doubt heading into their fights so fans will tune in. He claimed it may not be optimal for a fighter’s ego. But in terms of business, it’s necessary:
“All you want as a fighter is a question. You want the fans to constantly … as a fighter, as an athlete you wanna make sure there is no question. You wanna prove your point, you wanna shut everybody up, you wanna earn the respect. However, from a business standpoint you don’t ever want that to happen. You want there to always be questions. How will that go? How would this guy do against this opponent?”
Sonnen then moved on to that as it pertains to Jones. He believes the MMA legend takes it as pure disrespect when someone raises a question about any one of his fights. Sonnen thinks that Jones is supposedly not selling out arenas for this reason:
“I’ll use Jon Jones on the counter side of this. Jon Jones does not want there to be any questions. If you question Jon Jones, you have then disrespected him. He will then be upset. Jon Jones is stupid. Jon Jones is one of the best fighters to ever fight and he doesn’t fight to sold-out arenas, and he’s not gonna fight in front of a sold-out arena for a meaningful period of time. He could not sell out an arena right now unless he was opposite Daniel Cormier.”
Finally, the UFC veteran laid into ‘Bones’ by calling him stupid. He insisted Jones isn’t skilled at getting fans to tune in. Sonnen then stated the so-called questions about Holloway’s fights put him in a better spot in terms of business compared to Jones:
“The reason, he’s stupid. He doesn’t understand the questions that the fans have is what makes them sit down and tune in. If they know how the movie ends, they’re not going to want to watch it as much as if they can speculate. So for Max, he’s in a very good spot business-wise because there are still questions.”
It’s a somewhat strange point to make. While Holloway is an amazing featherweight champion and one of the best in the world, he isn’t necessarily a star who carries high-level pay-per-view events by himself. UFC 240’s numbers most likely proved that. The same cannot be said for Jones in any sense.
While it may be true that Jones has seemed to coast somewhat through recent fights simply because he’s so dominant, there are also questions remaining. His last fight was a split decision over an incredibly game Thiago Santos at UFC 239. Santos battered Jones’ lead leg to the point the champion had to be carried out of the cage. And he did so all after seriously injuring his knee early in the bout.
Many feel the fight would have gone differently if Santos had only stayed healthy. Santos wasn’t considered to even be a remote threat to Jones’ throne, so that certainly leaves a question there. Holloway, meanwhile, may have lost to Poirier. But he’s been about as dominant as it gets at featherweight.
So Jones can headline big events, and there are questions that still remain about his fights. Do you agree with Sonnen that Holloway has the edge on the controversial legend in either of those areas?