Jon Jones was not dropped by Nike after his media day brawl with Daniel Cormier. | Mike Sloan/Sherdog.com
At a Nevada Athletic Commission hearing in September, a contrite Jon Jones apologized for his media day brawl with Daniel Cormier.
During the day’s proceedings, the UFC light heavyweight champion indicated that the fallout from the altercation caused him to lose an endorsement deal with Nike. As it turns out, that was not the case at all. Jones’ deal with the athletic apparel giant had long grown stagnant, and there was already a plan in place for the two sides to part ways.
“Nike did not drop me because of that fight. And I kind of owe an apology to Nike for saying that they dropped me because of the fight. They actually didn’t. Nike’s been known to stick by their athletes through much worse things than a brawl in the middle of the MGM,” Jones said during a recent conference call to promote his bout with Cormier at UFC 182.
“The truth is Nike didn’t seem as if they wanted to move forward in the field of MMA,” he continued. “They weren’t activating me in the way that they said they would. They promised me a lot of commercials and just all types of stuff outside of the financial and the merchandise.”
At the time, Jones was two years into his Nike contract, but he says he was informed that much of what he was promised was not likely to come to fruition.
“I just finished the second year of my deal, and I was going to get ready to start my third year of the deal and I told them, “You know what? If you guys aren’t too serious about martial arts then I don’t want to be a part of the company.... hopefully I can respectfully leave,’” Jones said.
“And they said, ‘You know, Jon, if don’t like the deal we have in place then we’ll give you that out.’”
By the time the brawl occurred on Aug. 4, it had already been established that Jones was not going to go through a third year as a Nike athlete. However, his team elected to sever the ties more quickly after the incident.
“So I was supposed to be out anyways. We talked about it, it was already official. Everyone at the headquarters knew. My team knew that I wasn’t going to do my third year with Nike. And then we got in the brawl,” Jones explained. “And my rep called me and he said, “Jon, I know we were going to wait another month or two before announcing that...having you sign a contract to release you but since you got in this fight let’s just have you sign this paperwork. Let’s just not waste your time and allow you to go your own way.’”
A couple months later, the UFC announced that it had signed a six-year agreement with Reebok to be its official outfitter. A few weeks later, Reebok revealed that Jones and women’s bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey would help in development of a new line of products geared toward MMA.
Jones seems much more satisfied with his current situation.
“The truth of the matter is I did not get dropped by Nike. It was a mutual thing, something that we had discussed months before the actual fight. And now I’m with Reebok and I’m so excited to be with Reebok,” he said. “It’s an awesome deal. These guys have taken mixed martial arts very seriously and they’re taking me very seriously as an athlete. And I’m just very grateful to be a part of this company, a company that appreciates me and my sport as much as I appreciate being with them.”