Monday, Aug. 4, 2014 | 1:30 p.m.
Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier brawl at MGM
UFC fighters Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier have taken to social media over the past few weeks to express their dislike for each other.
Some thought the posts were an attempt to promote their upcoming light heavyweight championship fight during UFC 178 on Sept. 27 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. It’s being billed as the fight of the year.
Today, during a press conference promoting the fight in the lobby of the MGM, that dislike boiled over into an all-out brawl. The hatred was taken to another level. And there’s no question it is genuine.
The fighters were on separate ends of a roped-off area for most of the gathering, each being interviewed separately. But when they came together for the traditional face-off promotional photo, a forehead bump from Jones led to Cormier grabbing the champion by the neck and shoving him back.
With a UFC press official between the fighters, Jones went after Cormier, knocking over a cloth backdrop. As they were on the floor, and with security trying to separate the fighters, Cormier attempted to kick Jones.
Jones got in at least one good punch in the scuffle, which lasted about a minute. Most of the about 1,000 fans in attendance weren’t near the action, roped off by a security gate.
Jones, who earlier posed with the championship belt draped over his shoulder, left the lobby raising his hand, similar to celebrating a victory in the UFC Octagon.
“He says stuff to me, so I say stuff back,” Cormier said before the incident. “Personally, Jon Jones and I will never be friends. That is not in the cards. We don’t mesh. Professionally, I respect him as an athlete. I respect him as a champion.”
The 35-year-old Cormier, a former U.S. Olympic team wrestler, is undefeated in mixed martial arts at 15-0. He was vocal in saying he wanted a crack at the champion, leaving some to speculate he received the fight because of his persistence.
“Being in the position that I am, people are going to call me out,” Jones said before the incident. “If you are in the UFC and you aren’t looking to be the champion, you are in the UFC for the wrong reason. I realize the call-outs are all part of the game. I embrace it all.”
Some consider Jones the UFC’s top pound-for-pound fighter. He’ll be making his eighth consecutive title defense.
The press tour continues Tuesday in Los Angeles.