That escalated quickly.
The war of words between Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou has become a negotiating war between Jones and UFC president Dana White.
Jones has expressed interest in moving up to heavyweight to take on the fearsome knockout artist, in what would be a monumental clash even without a UFC title at stake. However, the reigning light heavyweight champion said that the promotion was unwilling to pay more for the potential showdown.
White responded by saying that Jones asked for an “absurd amount of money,” which Jones countered by calling those claims “absolute bullsh-t.” Dana went a step further on Friday and said that Jones wanted “what Deontay Wilder was paid [to fight Tyson Fury in February]. I think it was $30 million.”
(For the record, Wilder’s reported guarantee was $25 million + PPV points for the Fury rematch, but his official purse on the Nevada Athletic Commission paysheet was $5 million.)
Jones has fired back in a big way on Twitter, first doubling down by saying that White is the one who’s lying, then also denying that he ever asked for Wilder-type money.
If you’re going to stick to these lies, I’m going to stick to defending myself. Please have your lawyer Hunter Campbell release those text messages.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 29, 2020
Don’t be a fucking liar, my reputation has already taking enough hits. I don’t need this bullshit Dana. I never asked for Diante Wilder‘s numbers. And how about since Diante is making 30 million, we settle for half of that. Since you said I’m the goat and everything.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 29, 2020
Side note, definitely calling Deontay Wilder “Diante” henceforth.
Then Jones upped the ante by outright suggesting that if the UFC doesn’t value him properly, then they should just release him outright and let him move onto another promotion.
I don’t even make half of half of what Diante Wilder makes. If my reputation causes you to undervalue me this much. Just go ahead and release me from my @Ufc contract altogether. I’m sure some promoter somewhere will be more than happy to pick me up.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 29, 2020
And if I wanted to compare money to someone else, I would compare money to my brothers. I see firsthand the way the NFL treats their champion athletes, there’s a huge difference. I’ve kept my mouth shut my entire career.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 29, 2020
Do I make 5+ per fight yes. Should I stick to that number for my super fights? No. If you don’t agree with me you just don’t know business. I certainly didn’t ask for 30, never even threw out a number.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) May 29, 2020
Chances are that we’ve not seen the end to this back-and-forth exchange.