Instead of building up what would be a massive super-fight between a light heavyweight legend and the new UFC heavyweight champion, Jon Jones has called out Dana White for doing the opposite of his job as a promoter.
Shortly after UFC 260, White immediately invoked his trademark “he doesn’t want to fight” line for fighters trying to get paid better. The UFC President questioned the all-time great’s character, and said that Jones would probably be better off dropping down to 185 lbs than facing Francis Ngannou.
Jones of course, didn’t like hearing about this, and has responded in kind on social media.
“What a great way to promote the fight. Let’s just shit on Jon Jones and make him seem afraid. How dare he ask to get paid serious money for a serious fight,” Jones responded via Instagram.
Let’s not forget Stipe lost to DC. Stipe only defended his belt like five times to my 15. The man showed up at 230 to fight against Francis. He is no Jon Jones, I want this fight, excited to see what the UFC think it’s worth— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
You guys get so impressed by the guy with the knockout power. I’ve been proven for over a decade that punching hard means shit. I’ll let all you fans be super hyped, I’ll stick to what I know. Pay me and let me go to work— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
Jones responded by saying that he believes that even with a much deserved raise, everyone involved would be set to make a lot more money in this fight.
Spend a little to make a lot. Or am I missing something ♂️ https://t.co/YeKmxMKCmL— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
I always hear about how much the company is growing yet one year later I find myself in the same spot. I put in the work, I’ve done my part. I have completely transformed myself and now I meet a brick wall.. how discouraging— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
A huge slap in the face, and I thought we were in good terms. I’ve been sitting here working hard, excited to come back to the company. Just to get that shit https://t.co/O0yauvgkLM— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
I’ve been talking about getting paid more for over a year now, has nothing to do with France is winning the belt. I fear no man, i’ve been beating up on heavy weight since I was a skinny kid. Gain all this size and strength just to suddenly be afraid? Sure let’s switch narrative— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
I’ve been fighting my whole adult life, this shit just don’t feel right when you feel undervalued. It’s not an issue of wanting to fight. It’s an issue of wanting to be paid better. Let’s make that clear https://t.co/gVJhWo9seN— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
There’s also this exchange between Jones and his former rival in Chael Sonnen, with the fighter-turned-broadcaster toeing the company line:
If you are a former fighter, who is now a puppet. And you are insinuating that I am afraid because I’m asking for more money. You should be ashamed of yourself, you are part of the problem.— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
If YOU are a former fighter, who can't pick a weight class or an opponent, w/multiple arrests and failed drug tests, you are— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) March 29, 2021
These are 5 reasons Derrick Lewis deserves the shot.— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) March 29, 2021
-Better for the SPORT
-Better for the FANS
-Better for the UFC
Jones seemed baffled with the logic in White’s statements. What he’s missing though is that this has always been more about control than earning more in one event, with the UFC’s desire to keep their brand bigger than the fighters themselves. They would certainly earn a lot more by booking Jones-Ngannou even after giving Jones a raise, but “giving in” to him could open up even more fighters demanding for better pay.
Giving the title bout to Lewis or other far cheaper alternatives would help towards UFC’s old targets of giving just 17% of the revenue to the fighters. They’re also set to make bank either way, with the ESPN deal guaranteeing around $20 million for a PPV event regardless of the headliner.
So how much would this fight actually be worth to the UFC? Based on UFC’s financial documents, we’ve computed that Jones previously brought in “approximately $14 million additional revenue per event” on his light heavyweight title bouts compared to your normal UFC PPV. This Ngannou super-fight is guaranteed to be bigger than his typical title defense though, so here’s a financial breakdown about the possible scenarios:
It’s a very good possibility that the heavyweight super-fight draws better numbers than Gaethje vs Ferguson. If it draws around 850,000 buys — the same estimate as the comparison they brought up in Fury vs Wilder 2 — then we could be looking at an additional $27 million in residential PPV money.
If Jones vs Ngannou ended up being a blockbuster, like the reported 1.1 million buys for UFC 246’s McGregor vs Cerrone, then we could be talking about an additional $37 million in residential PPV in the United States, Canada, and New Zealand.
Jones has brought in a significant amount of revenue for the UFC through the years — about $108 million above the UFC’s floor in 2012-2017 alone — but how much does he actually make now? After a decade at the top of the sport, Jones claims he gets $5+ million per fight after his last contract dispute with the UFC, but we also know he made significantly less on his earlier title fights.
He isn’t likely to receive even close to the potential money he will generate here, but will he get even a slight increase to get the fight booked? Jones says he’s still keeping his hopes up.
I am going to try to remain faithful. There’s still time for the UFC to do the right thing. I am supposed to be seeing a fight proposal next week. Fingers are crossed, this is an opportunity of a lifetime for everyone involved.— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021