Jon Jones is looking to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to his quarrel with the UFC. When it comes to competing, Jones will not answer the promotions calls.
The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is currently in a battle with the UFC over pay. This comes after Jones (26-1, 1 NC) attempted to talk with the UFC about a potential “big money fight” featuring him v. heavyweight Francis Ngannou. Talks fell through, and Jones believes the UFC hasn’t been paying him what he felt he was worth.
“I’m not asking for anything outrageous, and I know we’re in a pandemic, and I know when you’re a multimillionaire and you’re asking for more, it makes you seem like this greedy person. I’m very aware of all of this, but I’m also very aware that I have the voice and the platform to make change.”
As a result of his frustrations, Jones expressed a desire to vacate the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and is looking to take a full hiatus from the company. He is one of several fighters who are taking this stance, including Jorge Masvidal, who wants his share of profits from the UFC. Conor McGregor retired for the third time, a move he has used before to get some sort of monetary gain within the UFC.
UFC President Dana White stated that Jones is requesting “Deontay Wilder-like” money, ranging to around $30 million. He did point out that Jones and Masvidal have signed new contracts and even called Jones the greatest fighter in MMA today. He believes numbers talk, something he harped to Jones about.
Jones made his UFC debut in 2008. Suffering only one loss in his career against Matt Hamill following illegal downward elbows, Jones won the UFC Light Heavyweight Title from Shogun Rua at UFC 128. While he has been stripped of it a few times, Jones has defended the belt a combined 11 times. A controversial figure, Jones has let his skills in the cage lead him towards the top of the mountain.
Jones is one of several fighters who are marketable within the UFC. That could help in negotiation tactics, especially for those who don’t have the means to do what he is doing.
“Most of the guys who are doing the absolute worst are not in the position that they can say publicly, ‘I have a second job, I’m borrowing money from my parents,’” Jones went on to say. “I know so many fighters who are living in the Jackson Wink MMA gym because they can’t afford to have their own apartment, and they’re UFC fighters. So this is sad.
“If I have to have a bad relationship with Dana, sit out for two years, three years, to bring light to what’s happening, then these are the things people remember you for more than winning belts. I stood for the younger fighters.”
The 32-year-old believes he is a position to make a legitimate change within the world of MMA. His hands are tied, as MMA is unlike any other job. He believes if he was in any other profession, this game of cat and mouse wouldn’t be as difficult. Now, he must wait to see if the UFC will budge.
“If it has gotten to a place of being personal, I would just much rather work for a company where I felt like I went home,” Jones would end up saying. “I’m home when I go to work. I have a great relationship with the UFC staff, but it’s a weird feeling when you feel like they don’t want you there.”