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White easy on Jones, not happy with Dan Henderson

ESPN staff
September 5, 2012

Jon Jones' decision to reject a fight with Chael Sonnen at UFC 151 was described by Dana White in Tuesday's interview on UFC Tonight as a "bad choice", with the UFC president preferring to deflect some of the blame onto Dan Henderson.

Jones was lambasted by White at the time of his refusal to fight Sonnen on eight days' notice, which led to the cancellation of the entire card. Clearly angered by the light-heavyweight champion, White declared at the time: "A world champion turned down a fight, that's never happened."

The situation arose after Henderson pulled out eight days before the event due to injury. His name was barely mentioned at the time of the cancellation, but White was far from happy with the veteran on Tuesday.

"Dan Henderson knew, two weeks before the fight - two weeks before he told me that he was injured - he knew," White said. "And had he given me that two weeks, like he should have, this fight might have happened."

Addressing Jones, who has launched a stern defence of his actions, White went easier on his star employee, acknowledging that youngsters make mistakes. His words also suggested Jones would not be treated differently by the UFC following the fallout, as has happened to famous names such as Tito Ortiz in the past.

"Do I hate Jon Jones or have animosity toward him right now? I don't," White said. "If I did, I'd tell, you, I think you know that. We'll find out. As we move along in our relationship, we'll find out where we're at. It's a little weird, it's never happened before, Jon Jones is, all my other interactions with Jon Jones have been, he's a young guy.

"Has he made some bad choices? Yeah. Who hasn't at that age? Seriously. When you're in your early 20s, it's hard to keep the wheels on the bus when all the fame and money and everything starts hitting. I give Jon Jones a lot of slack when it comes to that. The guy's young. There have been a lot of guys younger than him who have more fame and more money, but you've got to admit, it's tough to deal with when you're his age."

Jones' next outing will see him fight Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 on September 22.

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