BY MICHAEL STETS
After losing to Erick Silva on the last UFC on FX card in June, while also fighting with a heavy heart, due to the death of his strength and conditioning coach just a day prior, Charlie Brenneman was set to get back on the winning track vs. Kyle Noke at UFC 151. Obviously with Dana White’s announcement yesterday afternoon that the entire card would be cancelled because of Dan Hendersons knee injury, and Jon Jones refusal to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice. Brenneman as well as the other fighters on that card are left in limbo. I spoke to Brenneman about the cancelled card, he wasn’t happy, and had plenty to say. He opened up about the monetary effect of not fighting.
“It’s pretty crazy, I’ve been involved in this sport for over two years, and I’ve seen and heard and been through some crazy things, but this kind of tops the charts,” Brenneman said. “What people don’t understand is I’m not making hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, so every dollar I make is important to me. Not to mention my wife bought a flight, not to mention my parents bought flights, rooms, my fans, my corner men. This is all stuff that there is no answer to it, and we just have to eat it, and I don’t like that.”
Brenneman is no stranger to taking fights on short notice. Stepping up to face Rick Story and winning that fight on the UFC live card on VS last June thrust him into the spot light, much like Jones stepping in for Rashad Evans to face Shogun at UFC 128, ableit not for a title, or on a pay per view card. Brenneman spoke about what he would’ve done in Jones situation.
“Jones has his reasons, I’m not Jon Jones. I don’t understand, Brenneman said. “I can tell you this if I were in his situation, without a doubt I would’ve taken the fight. The bottom line is, you’re famous, and your actions influence a lot of people,” he continued. “So there’s times, and I’ve been through them too on a much smaller scale, where you pulled into doing things even though it might not be best for you simply because this is a business, this is a sport. Eli Manning is not going to pull out a day before the Super Bowl because his arm is sore. He is going to stick it out because he has that responsibility.”
UFC 151 may have been able to still happen without the Jones vs. Henderson main event. Dana White and the UFC felt differently, and for the first time in Zuffa’s 11years, an entire card was cancelled. The hot topic continues to be Jon Jones drawing the ire of White, and criticism from the media and other fighters of Jones for not stepping up to save the day and the 151 card. Brenneman gave his opinion.
“When you are the top of the top, the cream of the crop, sometimes you just have to do it, Brenneman said. “You put yourself in that situation. So, along with the Nike sponsorship, along the UFC sponsorship, along with the ability to buy a Bentley─ there’s a price you have to pay for that, sometimes it’s doing what you might not be comfortable doing.”
Dana White stated that they will figure out what to do with the other fights on the scrapped card. This offers no guarantee on when Brenneman will fight again, and if he will still face Kyle Noke, an opponent he’s has trained several months for, or potentially face a different opponent.
“It’s really crappy, on paper I’m the least important fight on this card,” Brenneman said discouragingly. “So that doesn’t give me much of a good feeling to think there’s going to be high priority on getting me back asap is the case. That being said, I’m ready, I will be ready, I’ll fight whoever, whenever, I just want the opportunity.”
Brenneman is still hopeful he will face Kyle Noke in the future.
“I was really looking forward to this fight with Noke,” Brenneman admitted. “I hope that stands, I hope we can get paired up on a future card. For me personally it’s a really exciting fight, it’s something that I want, so like I said I hope it works out.”
Hopefully it works out for Brenneman, as well as the other fighters scrapped from the 151 card. Much like them we are left in limbo waiting to hear what’s next.