Jon Jones Calls out UFC After Contract Talks for Francis Ngannou Fight Stall

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 22, 2020

Jon Jones goes through his pre-fight routine in the ring before a light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

Jon Jones' future with UFC appears to be on hold.

The fighter says he walked away from contract negotiations for a potential fight with Francis Ngannou once the company told Jones it was unwilling to pay him more to switch weight classes. 

In a series of tweets Thursday afternoon, Jones railed against UFC, saying that "maybe when they're ready to do better business I'll come back, until then, health, fitness and family." 


Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

Before even discussing numbers, the UFC was unwilling to pay more for the Francis super fight / for me to move to heavyweight. Said I could possibly earn more in pay-per-view buys.

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

It’s been fun you guys, maybe I’ll see you all in a year or two.

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

Maybe when they’re ready to do better business I’ll come back, until then health fitness and family.

Jon Bones Jones @JonnyBones

I should’ve worded that differently, I actually think these guys do great business. Right now things just aren’t where I want them to be.

Jones, 32, would be making the move from light heavyweight to heavyweight in order to secure a bout with Ngannou, who's coming off a masterful performance in UFC 249 in which he knocked out Jairzinho Rozenstruik 20 seconds into the first round. 

When one Twitter user asked Jones if money was more important than his legacy, the New York native didn't flinch.

"Honestly no, not in the stage of my career," Jones responded. "I could retire today. I’ve already done my job, I’ve given this company over a decade of entertainment."

Ngannou followed up and shared his doubts about the fight being made: 

Francis Ngannou @francis_ngannou

2) No title fight, no super fight, who knows when going to be my next fight 😤. Hope it's not in another 11 months or so. #ThisIsSucks

UFC hasn't made any public response to Jones' claims, and it remains to be seen whether Jones is serious about walking away or looking to use this as either a promotional or negotiation tactic. 

ESPN's Ariel Helwani notes contracts will become an even bigger sticking point between UFC and its fighters as the company looks to continue pumping out events while losing revenue from gate receipts with no fans able to view bouts in person. 

According to Helwani, fighters will be quick to dismiss UFC's concerns because they don't earn money from gate receipts as is. 

Jones is one of UFC's biggest draws and hasn't lost a fight since he was disqualified for downward elbows against Matt Hamill in 2009. He last stepped into the Octagon in February for a unanimous-decision victory over Dominick Reyes at UFC 247.

It may be the last fight fans see of him for some time if UFC is unwilling to budge on his contract.