MANILA, Philippines – Ronda Rousey, the most high-profile female fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, is wondering why UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones declined a fight, leading to the cancellation of an entire UFC event.
Rousey told ESPN that she considers Jones a friend, but is “mystified” by the champion’s decision.
Jones’ original opponent, Dan Henderson, pulled out of their UFC 151 fight due to injury, but Chael Sonnen stepped up to take Henderson’s place. Jones did not want to fight Sonnen on eight days’ notice, however, and the entire fight card was eventually scrapped.
“I don’t know what Jon Jones’ reasoning is, but I’d have made a different decision,” Rousey said in an ESPN interview.
Jones took the advice of his coach, Greg Jackson, who told the fighter that it was not a good idea to agree to a fight on such short notice.
For Rousey, the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion, this would be a demoralizing thing to hear from a coach.
“Mostly, I’d be bummed with my coach, if I had that situation come up and my coach said anything else other than ‘you’re the world champion, you could beat anyone, anytime. Go do it.’ I would think, ‘why doesn’t my coach have any confidence in me?’” Rousey said.
Rousey also pointed out that it was not only Jones who was affected by the event’s cancellation: the undercard fighters who earn less also had to deal with the fall-out.
“I don’t have any kids to provide for, and if I come home with a bruised up face and a loss, all I have to worry about is my own pride and my cable bill,” Rousey said.
“When I was first starting out, when I really needed the money, the main event fell through and the whole event was cancelled, and I know how that feels,” she added.
“I wouldn’t want to do that to anybody else.”
Rousey is coming off a successful title defense in a Strikeforce event last week, when she defeated Sarah Kaufman via an armbar submission hold.
A bronze medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Rousey is undefeated in her MMA career with a 6-0 record.