Jon Jones Shows Maturity as He Voices Concerns over Financial Future
Jon Jones recently came under a lot of heat when he stated that a second fight with Lyoto Machida was "high risk and low reward." His logic was that out of all his title defenses, the one with Machida had the lowest buy rate and therefore, the lowest return on pay-per-view payout.
People immediately jumped on these comments and were highly critical of the UFC light heavyweight champion for "whining" about monetary return.
It's pretty common really. People hate when athletes complain about how much or how little money they make as those yearly earnings are often far greater than those of the people who write about or follow their sport.
It's usually when an athlete such as Alex Rodriguez signs a ridiculously lucrative contract that draws public ire. Rodriguez and the New York Yankees agreed to a 10-year, $275 million deal in 2007, making him one of the highest paid athletes in the world. The general feeling was that no athlete needs to make that much money for playing a sport.
However, there are also times when an athlete receives a contract offer that just doesn't meet their expectations. One of the most notorious cases was when Latrell Sprewell was offered a 3-year, $21 million contract extension from the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2004.
Sprewell was insulted by the figure and claimed publicly, "I have a family to feed ... If Glen Taylor wants to see my family fed, he better cough up some money. Otherwise, you're going to see these kids in one of those Sally Struthers commercials soon."
It was a completely ridiculous comment and one that resulted in Sprewell getting absolutely lambasted in the media.
It turns out that Sprewell had some uncanny foresight though, as he has ended up having an incredible amount of financial problems following his retirement from professional basketball.
These problems include foreclosure on multiple homes as well as being forced to auction a yacht in order to satisfy debts.
Sprewell isn't a unique example and these cases aren't just limited to the traditional "stick and ball" sports.
In professional wrestling, Ric Flair's story is considered one of the most depressing. A man who has earned millions as a performer during his professional career, Flair's legacy will end up being one that saw him squander it all away in order to live his character.
Is Jon Jones wrong to discuss his finances publicly?
The folks over at Cageside Seats have a fantastic write up about Flair's financial despair. However, the abridged version is that Flair is in so much debt that he is no longer the "jet flying, limousine riding, kiss stealing, wheeling dealing, sonuvagun."
This is the same man who once claimed to have "spent more money on spilled liquor from one side of this world to the other" than most make in a year.
Which brings us back to Jon Jones.
On the UFC 151 media call, Jones was asked to explain his comments regarding the possible rematch with Lyoto Machida. His reasoning was simple: he knows that he has a limited career and has to prepare for a time when he is no longer fighting. In short, he doesn't want to end up as "another broke athlete."
He is one of the most recognizable faces in mixed martial arts and has the potential to elevate the sport for the next decade. His recent deal with Nike was a milestone as it showed that the apparel conglomerate is showing interest in what is still a very niche sport.
However, the reality is that no matter how amazing the Nike deal sounds on paper or how much fans want to see him rematch against the enigma that is Lyoto Machida, Jones needs to look out for himself first.
He'll always be viewed as the "kid" in the light heavyweight division but the sobering truth is that Jones is showing maturity by discussing his financial well-being. Instead of portraying him as the "whiny child," people should instead commend him for thinking about the future.
It's refreshing that an athlete of Jones' caliber is already thinking about what he'll live on in retirement. If he doesn't, he could end up being the next Ric Flair and Latrell Sprewell, a man who earned a lot and has little to show for it.
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