The UFC has come under public scrutiny following Jon Jones’ comments about Dana White and co. not paying him enough for the proposed heavyweight superfight with Francis Ngannou.
Daniel Cormier, however, thinks we should wait to see what Jones’ asking price was before slating the UFC for failed negotiations.
Speaking to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani in a recent interview (h/t MMA Fighting), ‘DC’ pointed out that ‘Bones’ could have been asking for an unrealistic amount of money and that the reigning UFC light heavyweight champ was likely offered a fair deal.
“What was the number though?” Cormier asked. “Was the number realistic? Was the number insane?”
“I remember a time when Jon Jones and I were gonna fight and he was like, ‘I got $10 million. Total. I got $10 million.’ That’s what he kept saying. If you have $10 million and you get half of that in one fight, I think that’s good if you made $5 million plus pay-per-views. . .
“No, man. People don’t get more to go up to heavyweight. I didn’t get more to go up to heavyweight. Well, I did. (Laughs). I was lying. I was just lying. I caught myself lying. I’m sorry. I did. I did get more.
“But let’s say Jon Jones’ base pay is $3 million. Say his base pay $5 million, then give him $7 million. That’s $2 million. But what was the number? When you’re talking transparency, tell the number. Tell the number that you threw out there. If you throw out the number - what do you think is legitimate for him to go up? $12 million? $20 million? What’s the number?”
Cormier then urged the UFC to go public with Jones’ initial number.
“If I’m the UFC, I make it public,” he said. “If we’re sharing, I say, ‘Hey, this is what this dude asked for. That’s absurd. . . This is what he asked for and this is what he made last time.’ I would put his numbers out there, all that undisclosed pay, I’d make public and go, ‘Tell me how I’m being unrealistic.’ Think, number one, you’re gonna fight with no crowd now so the gate is gone and you’ve got to sell a PPV against a guy who is scary. But I was on a card with Stipe and Francis and for as scary as Francis was, it’s not like we did gangbusters numbers. And I think that was before the ESPN deal came in. That was just the normal PPV system. So it’s not like Francis is going to make your numbers skyrocket through the moon.”
“If you asked for $20 million and you made $5 million last fight, that’s unrealistic. You’re painting it out to be something that’s not necessarily true, when the reality is, if you’re asking for $20 million, do you really want the fight? I have no idea (what he’s asking for), I’m just using $20 million as a baseline, for what would be a number? Because I’m almost certain the UFC would give him $7-8 million dollars. I don’t think for a second they wouldn’t. I think they would give him that, plus PPV.”
Jones will likely return to the UFC to defend his light heavyweight title against Jan Blachowicz, but Cormier can’t help but feel Blachowicz is a ‘let down’ compared to Ngannou.
“It feels like a let down, especially Blachowicz,” Cormier said. “I don’t want to disrespect Jan, but look man, when it comes to Jones, not many betting lines are close. You put him in there with Jan, it’ll be a big time - the separation will be massive.”
Jones is currently ranked No. 1 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound fighter rankings.