Clearly, Jon Jones Is Really Tired of the Media Stunts

DCJJStare

After Alexander Gustafsson decided to poke the bear late last week and tease UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones about an injury the champ sustained in training, Jon Jones was quick to respond.  Jones, in typical Jones fashion, decided to take the opportunity to address how he was not only focused on his next opponent, Daniel Cormier, but that he was tired of the media shenanigans.

Of course that was 24 hours ago.

Today, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier decided to fight for free, well ahead of their UFC 178 matchup in September.  Wrapping up a media Q&A in the lobby of the MGM Grand to promote the fight, Cormier and Jones took to the stage for the cameras to carry out the age-old staredown photo-op, when Jones decided a face-off simply wasn’t enough and that he wanted to be in Cormier.  Head-to-head became literal and then exchanged shoving, and soon fists, were the order of the day. MMA Fighting captured the entirety of the brawl here, where Jones showed that his commitment to stopping “media stunts” is about as consistent as everything else he does outside of the cage.

Of course the most telling aspect of the pre-fight fight comes when Jones, pleased with the carnage, stood a top a nearby podium amid the public he and Cormier almost put in danger and crowed, loudly and intensely as only a man who abhors media tomfoolery can be.

Growl! via MMAFighting.com

Growl! via MMAFighting.com

And of course, Bones Jones couldn’t simply let the dust-up speak for itself and took to Twitter to needle Cormier.

Cormier went on to respond to Jones’s taunt via Twitter (presumably after he was able to locate his shoe).  Now, it stands to reason that the Nevada State Athletic Commission will likely review the incident, but the bigger issue may be that the fight spilled into the general audience.  All it takes is one person to to file suit, and suddenly, Cormier and Jones are taking on civil litigation instead of exchanging fisticuffs.

With that, a highly-anticipated fight for UFC 178 suddenly became much bigger. Nothing, however, captures the moment from the perspective of the UFC brass quite like UFC PR Director Dave Sholler in this shot:

ShollerWhat’s the over/under for when the mea culpas begin to be issued?

The Power of Social Media: Josh Burkman & the WSOF Make Nice

peace, love, & understanding

peace, love, & understanding

It may have not been a national nightmare, but the speed bump in the 5-fight relationship between Josh Burkman and The World Series of Fighting is over.  Jeremy Botter has the details of the reconciliation.

At the center, money and Burkman feeling he had not being compensated via the terms of his contract while fighting on last minute notice at WSOF 9 against Tyler Stinson.

Burkman took to Twitter 24 hours after voicing his desire to be let out of his contract:

Contract negotiation tactics via Twitter.  Promotional executives attacking fighters’ integrity over social media.  This is MMA; still in its infancy.  Imagine an NFL executive or a CFL executive by comparison implying that a linebacker was scared of an opposing tight end or fullback. It would never happen.   It’s absurd.  It’s also why the NBA, NFL, and MLB have policies for their players, coaches, and executives regarding social media.  That’s what differentiates MMA and promotions like the UFC and WSOF from those more established leagues.  It’s also the tradeoff.

This is an exchange I had with UFC lightweight Donald Cowboy Cerrone earlier today:

The NFL or MLB doesn’t have the same fan connection or access.  Jerry Jones doesn’t indulge players’ complaints via traditional media let alone Twitter.  Russell Wilson doesn’t trade Tombstone quotes with fans.  So the drama of a Twitter conflict between an employee and an employer becomes something unique to MMA.  It becomes just as much a draw as the fighters who face off in the cage. Whether or not that’s a good thing remains to be seen.

In the short term, seeing the airing of grievances via Twitter eight months before Festivus proved to be a good thing for Josh Burkman.  In fact, it could be argued that Burkman is now 5-1 in the WSOF after taking on matchmaker Ali Abdelaziz and getting not only what he asked for from a monetary perspective but also a title fight against the winner of Rousimar Palhares and Jon Fitch.

Lost in the reconciliation and tidings of comfort and joy is what happens after Burkman’s next fight, the last fight on his contract with the organization.  Is there a title clause that prevents him from taking the WSOF welterweight title to a different organization if he beats the winner of Palhares/Fitch? Does Burkman want to continue fighting for the WSOF once he has completed his contract?  Will the WSOF institute a social media clause that keeps its fighters from pressuring them in public the way Burkman did?  Lots of questions remain despite the resolution.