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Cancellation costs little guys

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A.J. Perez

A.J. Perez previously worked at USA Today, AOL and CBSSports.com, covering beats ranging from performance-enhancing drugs to the NHL. He has also been a finalist for an Associated Press Sports Editors award for investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter.

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UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones won’t go hungry or struggle to pay his power bill now with the cancellation of UFC 151.

Some of the 20 fighters that were part of the undercard may not be so fortunate.

“I would say the vast majority will suffer,” said UFC welterweight Charlie Brenneman, who was scheduled to fight Kyle Noke at UFC 151 before Thursday’s cancellation. “This wasn’t a star-driven card, which is probably why it got canceled. Most of the guys on it aren’t famous, so most of the guys need the money. I’d say half were put in a serious financial predicament.”

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  • Should Jon Jones have taken fight against Chael Sonnen?
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Jones' decision not to fight Chael Sonnen atop the main card after Dan Henderson was forced to drop out with a knee injury for next weekend’s event in Las Vegas wasn’t greeted too kindly by fight fans.

His standing among his fellow fighters has taken more of hit.

“Look at what’s being taken away,” said Brenneman, who is better off than many after saving for years as a high school Spanish teacher before making the transition to fighting full time. “Guys are not going to make rent or be able to pay their bills. You made plans expecting that check. Now, it’s not going to be there.”

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UFC president Dana White said Jones’ decision not to fight cost other fighters “almost a half a million dollars in purse money.”

It’s also cost fighters like The Ultimate Fighter Live cast member Daron Cruickshank weeks of wasted training.

“It does suck because you spend money and invest in yourself to get ready for a fight and then this happens,” said Cruickshank, who was scheduled to face Henry Martinez. “For me, getting ready for a fight is all about the journey. You have a goal that you reach each fight and you almost go into a depression once it’s over. Leading up to this fight, I had all the excitement and, boom, there’s nothing. I have no fight. I have no money.”

UFC matchmakers have acted quickly to rebook the fighters on UFC 151 undercard and, as of Friday, seven of the 10 fights have been rescheduled for September or October, UFC spokesman Anthony Evans told FOXSpots.com. One of the undercard fights was slated to be canceled, so that leaves only two fights left to rebook--- and UFC officials expect to have that done shortly.

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The Brenneman-Noke bout will now be on the undercard for UFC 152 in Toronto on Sept. 22. Jones will headline that event with a title fight against challenger Vitor Belfort. Cruickshank said he’s waiting to hear when he’ll fight next.

The fighters aren’t just going without a purse and any bonuses they would earn, but they are also forgoing sponsorship money.

“I’m not one of those fighters that gets a paycheck every month (from a sponsor),” Cruickshank said. “As a fighter, you are a walking billboard. If you don’t fight, you don’t get that money. All (the sponsors) can say is, ‘Sorry about that. Better luck next time.’”

Of course, Sonnen told FOXSports.com that there was no reason to make those guys wait for any kind of paycheck.

“I don’t need to fight next Saturday,” Sonnen said. “I have plenty of money, plenty of titles and I have been on TV plenty of times. Some of those guys (on the undercard) haven’t had those chances. I was willing to do my part to see those sponsors and those fighters get the opportunity. This means keeping the lights on for some of them. It’s that serious.”
 

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