Press conferences began this week for UFC 178, coming up in Las Vegas on September 27. By now, few have not heard that the first of those media events ended with Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier tearing up the stage in a brawl. The back and forth ended with Cormier on his back and Jones celebrating as if he had actually won an actual fight. Neither one left the press conference looking anything but just a little foolish.
The foolishness continued when the two had an off-camera exchange prior to an ESPN interview where they were supposed to be expressing their deep regret for the events of the first press conference. With the leak of that exchange going public, the expression of that regret rang just a little hollow. It did, however, serve to confirm the genuine enmity between the two, and end in large part the conspiracy theorist claims that the entire brawl was a staged publicity stunt. It seems clear the Cormier and Jones really do not like each other.
In the pre-interview back and forth, Jones dropped his professional front and began to goad Cormier with insults. He started off addressing Cormier, saying “Hey pu##y,” and continued with similarly vulgar insults. While his lack of professionalism may have turned many fans off, Cormier did little to improve his own image with a whiny response about how “fake” Jones was, and the expressed desire to spit in his face. The two took the opportunity to put a positive spin on their previous antics and made themselves look worse.
Given the way that events have unfolded each time the two have attempted to address the media at the same time, it is no surprise that when Daniel Cormier next gave an interview, it was without Jones in the room. Cormier was a guest on AXS TV’s MMA Tonight on Friday, and sat down for an interview with series host Bas Rutten and guest host Ron Kruck and discussed the ongoing conflict between he and Jones. In the interview, he addressed the relationship between the two, and admitted that it may even have been a misunderstanding. There is exactly nobody who believes that he meant that, but the PR people are all glad that he said it at least. He was repentant, and said that he expected to see the two receive disciplinary action from either the UFC or the Nevada State Athletic Commission. That was not really a stretch, as most observers of the week’s events expect to see a response from both.
Cormier made the statement that he thought that they needed to “carry themselves better,” in order to show the fans “why they were really tuning into the fight.” Despite being given every opportunity by the hosts, Cormier did very little to improve his image with this interview. The contrition was measured, and while appearing slightly more genuine than that expressed by Jones earlier, it was not by much. In all, it was a slightly more successful attempt at damage control that the joint ESPN interview. Though it is unlikely to happen, there is a large contingent of fans who would be happy to see Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier just shut up until September 27, and let their performance at UFC 178 do the talking. But then, what would we have to talk about?
Alpha Fight is a daily column exploring the world of MMA and kickboxing and all related events and personalities.
Commentary By Jim Malone
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