Jon Jones says UFC announcing fight without his agreeing was 'unprofessional, a bully tactic'

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Jones talks controversy surrounding Alexander Gustafsson and the negotiations for the light heavyweight championship rematch.

Jon Jones was on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani this afternoon, part publicity appearance for the EA MMA game and part to talk the fight business and his upcoming fight with Alexander Gustafsson.

Helwani quickly directed the conversation to the controversy surrounding the bout agreement. The UFC made an official announcement of the rematch between Jones and Gustafsson. That would seem like good news, except that Jones hadn't agreed to the fight or the date.

Jones talked about the motivations behind the UFC announcing a fight without his having signed on the dotted line, "Originally, I just kind of identified it as being like a strong arm technique on their part. Get fans pushing for a fight prematurely." Jones continued, "I hadn't even heard that date before...I thought it was unprofessional, a bully tactic."

Helwani asked if the move was to push a narrative that Jones was scared to rematch Gustafsson, "It looks like that's what they were doing for sure. It was annoying but I just needed to weather that storm and let everyone call me a chicken for a few weeks until I got to get in there and negotiate the contract."

Jones said that he had to keep quiet during the negotiations, rather than complain in public, "It wasn't that it was tough, it was just something that I knew I had to do. I knew that them announcing the fight early was to get fans harassing me, pretty much. I just had to nevermind the masses and do what was best for me and my family."

Finally, the champ said that he was able to negotiate a new deal, but refused to give any more details beyond that he was "extremely happy."

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