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Jon Jones wants fair pay, and he's willing to hold out until he gets it.
In an appearance on Steve-O’s "Wild Ride!" podcast Thursday, the UFC light heavyweight champion, says he won't fight in the octagon again until he gets his fair share of the profits his fights generate. Jones has gone back-and-forth in pay disputes with UFC president Dana White for months.
“I don’t want to fight soon,” Jones said. “I have no interest in fighting in the UFC until I get paid what I believe I’m worth.”
Jones, considered by many the greatest pound-for-pound competitor in mixed martial arts history also explains that this goes beyond just him. Jones is also fighting for the guys at the bottom of the pay scale.
Stars like Jones are believed to make millions of dollar in undisclosed money above their fight purses, which are public record, those at the bottom of the UFC roster only make guaranteed money. After travel, medical assistance, insurance, and so on, the guaranteed pay only just covers expenses, despite fighting for a $7 billion promotion.
“I’m not asking for anything outrageous, and I know we’re in a pandemic, and I know when you’re a multimillionaire and you’re asking for more, it makes you seem like this greedy person,” Jones said. “I’m very aware of all of this, but I’m also very aware that I have the voice and the platform to make change.
“Most of the guys who are doing the absolute worst are not in the position that they can say publicly, ‘I have a second job, I’m borrowing money from my parents,’” Jones continued. “I know so many fighters who are living in the Jackson Wink MMA gym because they can’t afford to have their own apartment, and they’re UFC fighters. So this is sad.”
For these reasons, Jones, 33, says he’s willing to wait as long as it takes to make his point.
“If I have to have a bad relationship with Dana, sit out for two years, three years, to bring light to what’s happening, then these are the things people remember you for more than winning belts. I stood for the younger fighters.”
The public dispute between Jones and White ignited when Jones requested better money for to climb the weight ladder and face top heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou. The duo engaged in a public game of chicken, egging eachother to release text messages which would spell out exactly how much money Jones wanted, but neither side followed through.
Jones said he doesn’t want his relationship with White to be sour, but is willing to bear the brunt of however this standoff plays out.
“If it has gotten to a place of being personal, I would just much rather work for a company where I felt like I went home,” Jones said. “I’m home when I go to work. I have a great relationship with the UFC staff, but it’s a weird feeling when you feel like they don’t want you there.”
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