If there’s one thing Jon Jones and Dana White can agree on, it’s that their relationship has seen better days.
It was just over a year ago that Jones was supposed to headline the UFC’s mammoth 200th pay-per-view, only to see his rematch with light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier fall through when he was flagged by USADA for a potential violation just days before the event.
Jones went on to receive a one-year suspension for the use of a tainted sex pill, and during his time away from the Octagon it doesn’t appear that he’s felt the love from the UFC or its figurehead. On Monday, White told ESPN that he and Jones haven’t been on speaking terms since UFC 200 and “Bones” confirmed that there were issues between them in an interview with the LA Times.
“I feel like he’s shown me his true colors, and now I have no desire to pretend like he cares about me or that we’re friends,” Jones said, prior to Wednesday’s UFC 214 press conference in Los Angeles. The 30-year-old fighter meets Cormier in Saturday’s highly-anticipated main event in Anaheim.
UFC 200 was not the first time that Jones and White butted heads. In 2012, White famously condemned Jones and head coach Greg Jackson for refusing to accept a short-notice title bout with Chael Sonnen at UFC 151, when challenger Dan Henderson suffered an injury eight days out from fight night. That became the first show in UFC history to be canceled, which White blamed entirely on Jones’s camp.
Four years later, White handled the UFC 200 debacle in similar fashion. He vowed that Jones wouldn’t be trusted to main event again, a promise that was rescinded with the booking of the UFC 214 headliner.
White has apparently been making an effort to mend fences with Jones, but the former champion hasn’t been receptive.
“Dana White has reached out to me on at least four occasions, and I haven’t answered any of his calls or any of his text messages - that’s the reason we haven’t spoken,” Jones said.
It’s worth noting that Jones and White shook hands onstage at Wednesday’s press conference, but any conversation between them seemed brief at best.
Now that the spotlight is back on Jones, he is acutely aware of what he’s worth to the UFC and that knowledge has emboldened him to speak out. He told the LA Times that he views WME-IMG head Ari Emanuel as his true boss, while White is “the voice of the UFC.”
And that voice is falling on deaf ears at the moment.
“I just feel like when you’re making the company money and you’re a pay-per-view draw and you’re ultimately putting money in his pocket, then you mean a lot to (White),” Jones said.
“The moment you aren’t those things, you mean nothing to him, and he’s done a decent job of showing that. I felt completely abandoned by him… in a situation when I needed him the most.”