Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier Get Wild at Press Conference
UFC 178 is still over a month away but the fighting has already started.
Staredown Gone Wrong
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (20-1 MMA, 14-1 UFC) and challenger Daniel Cormier (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) came to blows during Monday’s UFC 178 Ultimate Media Day at the lobby of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While doing the traditional promotional stare down photo opportunity, Jon Jones went forehead to forehead with his challenger in what looked like a sign of intimidation on the part of the champion.
The stare down immediately went wild when Cormier shoved Jones with two hands and Jones reacted by throwing a punch which started the melee. Both fighters exchanged wild kicks and punches as venue security tried to break them up. In the middle of the brawl was UFC senior director of public relations Dave Sholler who was in between both men when the fight broke out. Luckily neither fighters, Sholler nor anyone in the audience was seriously hurt in the brawl.
Although both fighters later apologized on ESPN’s Sportscenter later that day, UFC chief legal officer Kirk Hendrick said that “it wasn’t enough.” He said in an official statement that “the actions of both fighters were a clear violation of the UFC’s code of conduct.” He added that the incident was “not a proud moment for the UFC organization” which he says “expects more from its athletes” especially Jones and Cormier who are “very well-trained and highly educated professionals.”Hendrick went on to say that there will be ramifications from the UFC for “these actions”.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has said that it will review the incident and may also impose its own penalties. The UFC has agreed to fully cooperate with whatever investigation the NSAC will conduct.
UFC President Dana White was not at the event, as he is taking a “first vacation in a long while”. Apparently, White immediately got hold of the news as he had just landed in Bora Bora. He reacted on twitter by saying that his vacation is “starting off perfect.”
But while White was perturbed by the incident which is a black eye for the sport of MMA, UFC 178 has ironically exploded off the gates in build-up with the unfortunate brawl on Monday. The main event has already been dubbed as one of the biggest fights of the year, the brawl just hyped it up the more, thus making White’s “perfect” reaction a doubled edged sword.
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