When UFC 151 was cancelled last week, Charlie Brenneman let UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones know via Twitter he was to blame.
In fact, Brenneman, who was scheduled to fight Kyle Noke on the Sept. 1 card, also let Jones know when his rent is due and where Jones could send the check Brenneman would have received for competing.
“That was pure frustration,” Brenneman told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show. “Mad? No, not necessarily. Frustrated? Yes. I took everything into consideration. I’m not one of the people who say, ‘Jon Jones said no. He screwed everything up.’ It was more than that. I kind of looked at the situation, looked at all the details, understood why he said no and then made my opinion known, then voiced my frustration. It wasn’t just the naive, ‘Oh, it’s all his fault.’ It was more of an educated, calculated frustration.”
Jones had been set to fight Dan Henderson in the main event, but when Henderson withdrew due to an injury and Jones declined a short-notice bout against Chael Sonnen, the UFC cancelled the show.
“Even my wife was like, ‘Why are you mad at him? Why aren’t you mad at Dana White?’” Brenneman said. “But to me, from a fighter’s standpoint, taking into consideration what I know -- and granted, I don’t know everything -- but what I know from the situation, he’s been training for a fight. He’s ready to go. He’s the champion. He was offered a challenger who was a weight class below him. If [Sonnen’s] been training, he’s been training for maybe 10 days. ... Based on that, the surrounding details, I can say I would have taken the fight. I can say that a lot of other people would have taken the fight as well.”
In June 2011, Brenneman accepted a fight against Rick Story on one day’s notice. Brenneman won, too, stunning the welterweight contender via unanimous decision. While Jones was in a somewhat different position as a champion, Brenneman believes that was even more reason for him to fight Sonnen.
“If you’re champ, you’re the champ,” Brenneman said. “That means, yeah, you probably make the most money, but it also means that you’re the face of Nike, you drive a Bentley, you are the face of the UFC. Those are big things. I don’t get that. None of my immediate friends get that. Frankie Edgar, who’s been champ, forever one of the best fighters in the UFC, he didn’t get that. It’s those kind of extra bonuses that then kind of put you in a position where you might have to do things that you don’t necessarily want to do.”
Brenneman’s bout against Noke has since been moved to UFC 152 on Sept. 22. He’ll get his fight purse then, but it won’t cover all of the expenses resulting from UFC 151 being cancelled.
“We have to cover my wife’s flight,” Brenneman said. “All these airlines offer a ‘rebate,’ but then there’s a several-hundred-dollar activation fee for the rebate. We have to cover those costs. I know my brother and my parents, my aunt and uncle, they all lost out on money and that’s money that I will give them. I’m sure they will tell me, ‘No, don’t give it to me,’ but that’s several hundred, maybe a thousand bucks. My one corner, he purchased his flight. Got to change that to Canada, got to cover that difference. So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff, not to mention I’m primed. I’m physically primed. I’m ready to fight Sept. 1 and I can’t do that.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 3:05).