UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones feels so insulted by the UFC that it could lead the world’s top mixed martial artist to vacate his UFC light heavyweight championship and sit on the sidelines until 2021. At least, that’s what Jones and his manager told MMA journalist John Morgan on Thursday night.
“It’s just insulting,” Jones said.
Adding to his social media tirade the fighter went on Thursday evening over the failed negotiations between Jones and UFC executives in regards to the 32-year-old moving up to heavyweight for a superfight against Francis Ngannou, Jones let loose on the subject in a rare and exclusive interview with Morgan.
“Even if you didn’t want to change my contract, the fact that they didn’t want to sign me up for a one-fight deal to fight a guy that’s 40 pounds bigger than me, the scariest dude on the planet – Francis Ngannou, the guy that nobody wants to fight, I’m willing to fight him while being smaller than him, and you’re not going to pay me $1 more?” Jones said.
Jones: ‘They Offered Me Zero Upside’
Jones seemed particularly dismayed over not being offered a single dollar more to face Ngannou, who some call the “Mike Tyson of MMA,” than he would to simply continue to face the next light heavyweight contender down the line, which in this case would be Jan Blachowicz.
“You mean to tell me that this fight isn’t worth anything more than me stepping in against a Jan Blachowicz? It’s just insulting,” Jones said. “Everyone would love to see me take this risk, and they offered me zero upside.”
So none of those things are helping Jones feel valued by the company right now. In fact, the fighter told Morgan he feels “hurt” over the matter.
“You’re willing to pay other fighters tens of millions of dollars to fight, but you’re not going to give me $1 extra to put my life on the line against Francis Ngannou?” Jones asked. “You’re asking me to take the single riskiest fight in the UFC, period, and you don’t want to pay me more for that? That’s probably one of the riskiest fights in the history of the sport as far as what he has with his skillset and our size difference.”
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Jones’ Purse Size for UFC 247 and Other Comparisons
According to The Athletic’s Greg Rosenstein, Jones’s purse for beating Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in February was $500,000. Conversely, boxing champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, who like Jones is arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in his sport, made exponentially more than that for his last fight. Alvarez netted a whopping $35 million to stop Sergey Kovalev last year.
It's still staggering to me the difference in fighter pay between MMA and boxing.
Jon Jones' purse was $500,000 at UFC 247.
Canelo Alvarez's purse was $35 million against Sergey Kovalev. pic.twitter.com/nyreqNub7B
— Greg Rosenstein (@grosenstein) May 22, 2020
While boxing and the UFC employ vastly different business models, the comparison might at least put in perspective why Jones believes the company should pay him more for moving up to heavyweight.
Perhaps a more direct comparison would be Conor McGregor’s $3 million purse size per Sporting News for UFC 246 in January.
Either way, Jones doesn’t seem to be asking for Canelo-money or McGregor-money to face Ngannou. He simply wants a little more than his usual rate for taking such a big risk against one of the biggest and scariest fighters in the sport.