May 18, 2011
A hero just eight weeks ago around UFC 126, Jon Jones is experiencing both sides of being a mega-star.
For the casual fan, he's been nominated for Spike TV's Guys Choice awards on June 10 (click on photo to vote). Jones is pitted against pound-for-pound boxing king Manny Pacquiao. Meanwhile, some hardcore MMA fans are worked up because Jones is sidelined with an injury. They're wondering why their hero is off until the fall.
"People look at 'Bones' Jones as being like their favorite Power Ranger," Jones told ESPN1100 in Las Vegas. "And their Power Ranger needs to be on because it's Wednesday night. I think people forget that my name is Jonathan Dwight and I'm very human, and I need to make decisions and choices. Sometimes people aren't going to going to get their Power Rangers show when they want it and how they want it."
Jones was expected to have surgery for a recurring hand injury, but that was canceled last week. Between cries that he ducked Rashad Evans and shots at his management, Jones has had to deal with some negativity.
After a final visit for another opinion, major hand surgery was avoided. That doctor told Jones the procedure was unnecessary and too risky for an athlete of his stature.
Using Twitter, his manager Malki Kawa tried to inform fans and the media about the change in plans. As a result, he's been eviscerated. This from Bloody Elbow's Brent Brookhouse:
Kawa is failing at his job. He is making a fighter who had built up a reputation as an unstoppable wrecking ball appear like he's going out of his way to avoid a fight with a guy who may be "in his head."
Headkicklegend's Matt Roth made it even more personal:
Unfortunately, Kawa is like many MMA managers. Ones who don't understand the sport or the press; only seeing the potential dollar signs they could make if they are successful. As a manager, Kawa isn't just under-qualified, he lacks any qualifications one usually associates to one in a managerial role. Lacking a college degree in any sort of relative field, he doesn't have a keen eye for business or contracts, nor does he have an understanding of proper PR work.
UPDATE: Kawa now says Jones is willing to fight Evans in October.
The issue is complicated. We don't know what sort of pain Jones experiences each time the injury re-appears. He clearly got some shaky medical advice along the way and fans should be happy he's not putting his career at risk.
In the end, it's not the worst thing for Jones to have some time off and build momentum towards future title defenses in late 2011 and early 2012. Appearances on "The Tonight Show" and the "Guys Choice" awards only add to his star power away from the Octagon.
The entire interview with Jones can be heard this Friday on ESPN1100/98.9 FM in Las Vegas at 6 p.m. PT. "The MMA Insiders" radio show will feature Roy Nelson in studio along with Jones and Travis Browne. Listen here.
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