Dana White Blames Jon Jones for Tarnishing Own Image; UFC Champ Calls for Release

By Tristen Critchfield May 31, 2020

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Over the past few days, the contract negotiations for Jon Jones’ first heavyweight foray devolved into a very public ‘he said-he said’ feud between the 205-pound champion and UFC president Dana White.

That continued following UFC on ESPN 9 on Saturday night after White was asked to respond to Jones’ request to release text messages from the fighter, which White himself previously said would provide clarity to the whole situation,` regarding those discussions.

“Who do you believe? It’s up to you guys,” White said at the UFC on ESPN post-fight press conference. “F—k would I lie for? What do I gain in lying about it? Why would I lie? It doesn’t matter. 

“Obviously he’s fired up right now. He had a great talk yesterday with Hunter [Campbell], my lawyer. He’s really close to Jon Jones and likes him. And they have a good relationship. They had a good talk yesterday, but it is what it is. I really don’t care.”

Jones has claimed the UFC shut down talks for a proposed superfight with Francis Ngannou before they could really get going. White countered that Jones asked for a payday (reportedly $25 to $30 million) in the neighborhood of what heavyweight boxer Deontay Wilder made to face Tyson Fury in their rematch this past February. In turn, Jones denied ever throwing out a figure in that ballpark, calling White a “f—-ing liar” on social media.

On Saturday, White implied that Jones’ personal issues have hindered his earnings potential with the UFC.

I’m always looking at what Jon Jones could’ve been,” White said. “He could’ve been the LeBron [James] of this sport. He could’ve been literally that big. The stuff that he’s been through, to show up and basically demand $15 million and $20 million and $30 million — it’s crazy.

“He can do whatever he wants to do. He can sit out. He can fight. He can whatever. You know how this works. Jon Jones can say whatever he wants publicly. It’s his God given right here in America. When he’s ready to come back and fight he can.”

White also disputed the notion that he has hurt Jones’ reputation by putting out false information regarding their discussions.

“Being ‘The Greatest of All-Time’ doesn’t mean you get $30 million … Jon Jones has done a lot of things to himself,” White said. “In one of his tweets he was saying that I tarnished him. I tarnished you? You’ve done a very good job of tarnishing you. I haven’t done that. Hunter told him, you can come in here and walk through the numbers. He said, ‘I don’t give a f—k what the numbers are. I want what I want and that’s it.’ It’s not how life works.”

Not long after White left the podium in Las Vegas, Jones issued a response through another series of tweets early Sunday morning. In that message, the UFC champion asked — for a second time in a span of a few days — to be released from his contract.

“The reporter asked Dana to show the text messages instead he gives a 55-second response talking about why would I lie,” Jones wrote. “At no point did I ever demand anything from you Dana, I simply asked for a super fight and asked to be compensated for it. You are the one who started talking negotiations publicly and showing the world how much you’ve been withholding from your athletes this whole time.

“Hunter and I had a very respectful conversation, I love how you’re trying to paint this picture of me being some angry guy disrespectfully demanding money. And then bringing up my out of the cage affairs to justify underpaying me by tens of millions for years.

“You’re talking all that big guy stuff about not caring, put your money where your mouth is and release me from that contract.”

Later on Sunday, Jones claimed that he was relinquishing his light heavyweight title.

"[Dominick] Reyes vs Jan [Blachowicz] For the UFC light heavyweight championship of the world," he wrote. "As of right now, I got nothing to really gain fighting either of them. Let me know if you guys want to set up a day in 2021 for that Izzy [Israel Adesanya] fight. Hopefully you guys will be willing to pay by then.

"Bones out. When you see me in the streets just call me JJ," he added. "To the light heavyweight title Veni, vidi, vici."

Note: This article was updated to include comments made by Jones on Twitter about potentially vacating his light heavyweight title. Advertisement
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