Could This Really Be the End of Jon Jones in the UFC?

Kelsey McCarsonFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2020

Jon Jones attends a news conference for the UFC 235 mixed martial arts event, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, in Las Vegas. Jones is scheduled to fight Anthony Smith on March 2 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

Imagine being the best fighter in the world and not getting paid like it.

That's the boat Jon "Bones" Jones found himself riding in over the past decade, and instead of complaining about it on social media or holding out on every other promotion for a few more nickels and dimes here and there, Jones just kept adding wins to his record.

But that all changed in a matter of just a few days.

On Sunday, Jones took to social media to vacate his UFC light heavyweight championship.    

The 32-year-old had never really complained about the UFC's ridiculous pay scale in which one can be a household name in the sport but still make less money on fight night than a second-tier professional boxer.

And equaling or even coming close to making the reported amount of money that recently felled heavyweight boxing champion Deontay Wilder did in his last fight?

UFC President Dana White called that request for $30 million "absurd," according to Howie Kussoy of the New York Post.

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In fact, Wilder's latest paychecks dwarf the ones Jones cashes as the top pound-for-pound athlete in the so-called fastest growing sport in the world.

But what's even more absurd is Jones maintains he never even asked White for what Wilder made in his last fight.

Jones says White made all that stuff up, and that's what suddenly and shockingly caused the two men's relationship to disintegrate in front of our eyes over the weekend.

Is it true?

At this point, the truth is only known by two men: Jones and White.

But did you see how White responded after he was asked to share the alleged text messages from Jones that would prove how much money the champ was asking for in failed negotiations for a superfight between himself and heavyweight Francis Ngannou?

I'm not accusing White of lying, but I am saying that the easiest way to prove his side of the story is simply to release the text messages that he says Jones sent.

Instead, as noted by Jones, when given that chance, White went on a 55-second diatribe about how he had no reason to lie about the matter.

And because of this impasse both men have come to, Jones might have enjoyed his last action as a UFC fighter at UFC 247 in February.

There's something sad about that.

Sure, the longtime divisional king has started to look less invincible of late, right around the third time he's cleaned out the 205-pound division in his career.

It means Jones no longer wins every minute of every round and that his fights are actually competitive.

His opponent's hopes in defeating him no longer rest solely on hoping the champ maybe breaks his toe during the pummeling so that the fight would be stopped by the ringside doctor.

Chael Sonnen came so close to that back in 2013 at UFC 159.

And it's no longer a game of hoping he accidentally hits you with an illegal blow like those 12-to-6 elbows Matt Hamill ate 11 years ago in Jones' only official loss, the one nobody really counts.

No, Bones Jones' fights have been more interesting than ever over the last year.

First, Thiago Santos gave Jones all he could handle at UFC 239.

Next, Dominick Reyes almost pulled off the shocker of the century at UFC 247.

Now, Jones wanted to move up to heavyweight to face the "Mike Tyson of MMA" Ngannou.

Can you imagine how dangerous a position Jones was putting himself into with that fight?

And all the best fighter in the world wanted, according to him, was to be fairly compensated for it.

Look, am I a combat sports financial guru of sorts? No.

Can I tell you exactly what Jones should be making versus the rest of the field? Also no.

But what I can tell you is that Jones has done enough inside the UFC's Octagon by now to not have been ridiculed by White over the last week for starting a conversation about making more money.

You can't simultaneously cry foul over how there's not enough money to go around right now because of the COVID-19 pandemic while building out the infrastructure for your company's own private island.

So could this be the end of Jon Jones in the UFC?

It might be.

And if it is, there's nobody to blame but White.  

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