By Nadia Noir
“Can we all get along?” Not if you’re MMA fighters, Daniel Cormier and Jon “Bones” Jones. The pair are gearing for an epic fight at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand on September 27th and at a recent press conference got into one of the most talked-about staredowns in MMA history.
27-year-old Jones balanced his belt in his hands while he “head butted” Cormier in a show of intimidation and dominance. According to an interview with Kevin and Bean this morning, Jones said that this is really common in the sport, but it almost never comes to blows like it did yesterday.
“A great staredown is a great photo-op,” admitted Jones, but Cormier took it the wrong way and shoved Jones right in the neck. Jones reacted and, next thing you now, there was a crazy scuffle that had both parties throwing punches and falling off the stage. Jones says Cormier even threw a shoe that hit a female reporter in the head.
Both Cormier and Jones said they were super embarrassed that such a childish thing happened. Jones said that the UFC goes to great lengths to make sure their fighters seem like college-educated gentleman and Cormier said that while he’d tell his son never to let someone bully him that way, one day he will have to explain to his kids why he was acting like that on “national television.”
For Cormier, that simple, showy act of disrespect had triggered an animosity which was spawned four years ago when the pair first met. Eight years younger than Cormier, bigger, and a renowned champion, Jones said he introduced himself to Cormier and sarcastically peacocked in a friendly way that was misinterpreted as a threat.
“It started off bad, but the way it started off is so ridiculous. So, check this out,” explained Jones. “I’m backstage…we’re all backstage as fighters and someone sees Daniel Cromier coming up to us. We were the only group around. I see him looking at me; I was the champion at the time and I’m sure he knew he was, being a fighter. So, I said: ‘I’m going to go up and introduce myself. ”
Jones said he introduced himself by playing the tough man, ‘”I don’t know, man. I bet you I can take you. You look like somebody I can take down.” Being sarcastic. Obviously I knew the the guy was Olympic level, very elite level wrestler. And, me, I was a junior college kid. So, I knew when it came to wrestling, he could probably take me down.'”
But Cormier admits that he took the joke the wrong way and from then on out the pair did everything they could to avoid each other and that they never really got past it because they never “really talked.” Cormier’s sensitivity over the event and Jones getting in his personal space made the burrowed hatred escalate even though he doesn’t “want to be part of a face-off like that.”
“I don’t want to be touched…you should have respect to give me my personal space and not touch me at a [press conference.]”
I won’t let another man get in my face and put his forehead against mine. I will react every time. @JonnyBones next time I will slap you.
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 4, 2014
While Cormier’s stance was that it should have never happened and that he’ll never allow his emotions to drive him “inside of an octagon,” Jones seems to be fueled by the drama. He even admitted that when other fights are totally respectful and bow to him that it irritates him because he can’t get angry and that part of him tweeting things at Cormier is to get him angry.
Lol those baby punches from the bottom, I really hope you have more prepared than that for when I take you down again
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) August 4, 2014
“Honestly, I’m looking for him to make me upset,” said Jones. “Fire can consume you or you can learn to channel it and use it against your enemy.” Jones is channeling his rage into training four hours a day, which is more than most fighters.
“I owe him one still. He got a clean chop to my throat,” said Jones, almost laughing.
Cormier and Jones will both be at a Q&A this afternoon at Club Nokia. Doors open at 3pm and questions start at 4pm. If you can’t make it there, you can watch here.
Tickets for their fight in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand go on sale this Friday through Ticketmaster.com.