Before UFC light heavyweight Jon Jones turned down a fight with Chael Sonnen, the two engaged in a war of words. Sonnen called Jones out, Jones responded with, "If you're going to disrespect me out of nowhere, at least disrespect me to my face like a man. And you call me a punk, I'm more man than you'll ever be," and then Jones said he knew what he was doing all along.
Except, there are reports now that Jones was bothered by Sonnen not only calling out Jones here, but in the many things Sonnen said after Jones turned down their fights. He even reportedly asked UFC president Dana White to tell Sonnen to stop.
This isn't the first time Jones has been oddly bothered by what people have to say about him. After beating Quinton Jackson at UFC 135, the UFC brought Rashad Evans into the cage for the two to face off for their next fight. Jones was so bothered by the sight of his former friend in the cage that he ignored Evans' compliments on how he fought, and said Evans "ruined his night twice." Really? Jones had just beaten a former champion by submission, but the mere sight of Evans ruined what should have been a jubilant evening for him.
When Jones apologized for getting behind the wheel of a car while drunk, he lashed out again at his "haters" who tried to "kick him while he was down." After White announced the cancellation of UFC 151 and lashed out against Jones and his camp, Jones actually unfollowed his boss on Twitter.
For a millionaire professional athlete, Jones has a thin skin. He often appears more concerned with what his detractors think than his supporters.
It's an odd stance for someone of his level to take, because part of the job of being a famous athlete is dealing with people who don't like you. Look at the mentions of Twitter pages or Facebook pages for any pro athlete. They are being blamed for everything from fantasy team losses to ruining a fan's life. San Francisco 49er Kyle Williams received death threats after fumbling in a playoff game. It's not right that anyone should have to deal with such vitriol, but it's part of the fame game.
Jones has the skills, speed, reach, height and fight intelligence to stay at the top of the MMA world for a long, long time. He appears so far above his competition that the only person who can beat him is Jon Jones. Right now, he should be thinking about his fight with Vitor Belfort on Sept. 22, not be worried about what Sonnen has to say.