Dan Henderson was forced to remove himself this week from a title bout with UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones due to a knee injury.
The card was scheduled for Sept. 1 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. UFC president Dana White made the announcement Thursday during a media call, scrapping a major card for the first time in his 11 years in charge of mixed martial arts’ dominant promotion.
Middleweight contender Chael Sonnen accepted an offer to face Jones, but the champion refused to fight him on eight days’ notice.
“This is probably one of my all-time lows as being president of UFC,” White said Thursday.
“Dan Henderson has a partial tear in his MCL and couldn’t continue. He tried to train, he continued to work out and saw a doctor, but there was nothing we could do to save that fight.
“Chael Sonnen accepted the fight with Jon Jones, so as of 8 o’clock last night we had a fight. But the one thing I thought wouldn’t happen, happened. Jon Jones said ‘I’m not fighting Chael Sonnen with eight days’ notice.”
With the untimely cancellation of the event Henderson felt the need to release a statement on Thursday regarding his removal from the event which read:
“Sadly and unfortunately, I partially tore a ligament in my knee in training. As a result I’ve had to make one of the toughest decisions that I have ever had to make… for the first time in my career I am forced to pull out of a fight, my fight with Jon Jones at UFC 151. Luckily, surgery is not needed at this time and I will be completely devoted to rehabing my knee as quickly as possible.
I feel that I owe it to my fans and all the people supporting me to fight at my full potential in order to give myself a chance to win the UFC title. I appreciate the loyal support that I have felt from my fans. I want to thank all of my coaches and team of guys for the great support with my training camp.
Most importantly, I appreciate their honesty when I needed them the most to make this very difficult decision. I also want to thank Dana and Lorenzo for being so understanding and supportive. I will continue to pursue the UFC belt with all of my heart!“
Jones will now defend his title on Sept. 22 against Lyoto Machida in Toronto. That card was promoted as UFC 152 but now will be considered UFC 151 in place of the canceled Vegas card.
Jones said recently that he did not want to fight Machida in a rematch due to low pay-per-view numbers the two generated last Dec. 10 in Toronto. In that bout at UFC 140, Jones won by submission in the second round.
“I don’t want to fight Lyoto Machida,” Jones said. “He was my lowest pay-per-view draw of last year. “No one wants to see me fight Lyoto Machida. I don’t want to fight Lyoto again. Lyoto is high risk and low reward.”