UFC President Dana White ripped into Jon Jones on Saturday, calling out the light heavyweight champion for "tarnishing" his own name as the impasse regarding Jones' next fight continues.
White told reporters:
"He can do whatever he wants. He wants to sit out, fight, he can do whatever. He can say whatever he wants publicly. It's his God-given right in America. He can say whatever he wants. When he's ready to come back, he can.
"In one of his tweets, he said I tarnished his name. I tarnished you? You've done a very good job of tarnishing you."
White has been negotiating Jones' long-anticipated move up to heavyweight to fight Francis Ngannou, but the two sides have not gotten close to an agreement. The UFC president told ESPN this week that Jones asked for an "absurd" amount of money.
"So is Jon Jones going to go in and fight Francis Ngannou and then try to take a run at the heavyweight title? I don't believe that," White told ESPN's Brett Okamoto. "He's never wanted to move to heavyweight before, and for the amount of money he's asking for, it's not going to happen. He couldn't be asking for a more absurd amount of money at a worse time."
Jones has taken to Twitter several times to dispute White's claims, calling the UFC president a "f--king liar."
"It's interesting to just sit here and watch your boss lie to the camera like this. We never discussed any increase in pay. Immediately the conversation was that I already made enough. I never made a number offer...I was over the situation, but I'm not gonna sit back and allow Dana to lie to the fans. I never asked for an absurd amount of money. That's bulls--t.
"...Don't be a f--king liar, my reputation has already taking enough hits. I don't need this bulls--t Dana. I never asked for Diante Wilder's numbers. And how about since Diante is making 30 million, we settle for half of that. Since you said I'm the goat and everything.
"I don't even make half of half of what Diante Wilder makes. If my reputation causes you to undervalue me this much. Just go ahead and release me from my UFC contract altogether. I'm sure some promoter somewhere will be more than happy to pick me up."
White's comments Saturday seemed to escalate the feud, essentially alluding to Jones' issues outside the Octagon. Jones has been convicted of driving under the influence twice, including a March arrest in New Mexico. He was also involved in a 2015 hit-and-run and pleaded no contest last year to disorderly conduct after an altercation with a waitress at a strip club.
In addition, Jones has tested positive for banned substances at multiple points in his UFC career, for both performance-enhancing drugs and cocaine.
"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," Jones tweeted. "And then bringing up my out of the cage affairs to justify under paying 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."