In October of 2012, the UFC announced that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen would serve as coaches in the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter and later square off in a title fight at UFC 159. The majority of the MMA community immediately questioned this decision, and rightfully so, considering Sonnen was coming off a loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 148 in July. But the promotion needed to see The Ultimate Fighter ratings increase, and the 17th season did just that by drawing a good amount viewers to FX on Wednesday nights.

Not only did the season offer two of the top names in mixed martial arts in Jones and Sonnen, but it focused more on the fighting rather than coaching disputes or shenanigans in the TUF house. This was one of the best decisions the UFC has ever made, which led to it being the best season in quite a while. Jones and Sonnen just added to the success by being very good coaches to their fighters.

While the show was being aired to viewers across the country, the coaches were training to prepare for the main event of UFC 159 on April 27 for the 205-pound title. And of course, Sonnen was promoting the fight every chance he got.

It wasn’t the Sonnen we saw in the weeks leading up to his two title fights, considering there was some bad blood there, but “The American Gangster,” as well as the UFC, did a great job of getting word out to the public. Not only did the announcements reach fans who watch MMA on a weekly basis, but also those who are casual fans and even some people who hardly ever watch UFC events. In fact, I personally know of some that went out of their way to watch the event even though they are, for the most part, unfamiliar with the sport.

But was it the fight itself that people wanted to see or were they just tuning in for Jones and Sonnen to settle the pre-fight talk?

Jones and Sonnen are two fighters you either love or hate, and fans had strong feelings about this fight. Some people don’t like the pre-fight talk Sonnen uses, whereas others can’t stand the way Jones handles himself now that he is the champion. Clearly, the main event of UFC 159 was about the characters of these two men.

Once the cage door closed, the fight in itself was about what was to be expected. Against the far superior Jones, Sonnen was as high as an eight-to-one underdog in terms of the betting odds. The fight justified that line, as “Bones” earned a TKO due to strikes in the first round to retain his belt.

The question is, considering the lopsided nature of the fight, did the UFC make the correct decision in the first place when the pairing was announced?

It may not seem like it, but the UFC will come away with a high buy rate when it comes to pay-per-view sales. It won’t come near the number (925,000) from UFC 148 when Silva and Sonnen rematched, and may not even hit 900,000 like UFC 158 did in March, but it will be a solid figure.

As fight fans, we may feel like other challengers would have made more sense for Jones, but when breaking this down, one has to consider the business side of the sport. In that area, the UFC excelled. When we look back to this event, UFC 159 may not have been historic, but it definitely served its purpose.

Photo: Jon Jones (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Corey Adams
Staff Writer

Corey Adams didn't grow up watching mixed martial arts, considering the UFC was just getting started the year he was born, but in his teenage years, witnessed the action and has fallen in love with the sport. Corey was the first to join The MMA Corner staff -- other than founder Josh Davis -- and has been writing for the site ever since. Corey attends Austin Peay State University, where he majors in Communications with a focus on journalism. When he's not covering MMA, Corey is still writing on many sports with both local and campus newspapers. His favorite sports teams are the Atlanta Braves and Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at the link below.