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Jon Jones tells UFC $8-10 million ‘way too low’ for Francis Ngannou fight, Derrick Lewis responds

Jon Jones
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jon Jones has started negotiations with the UFC in hopes that a deal can be brokered for a showdown with new heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.

The longtime light heavyweight king took to Twitter on Wednesday to reveal details surrounding a recent conversation with UFC executive vice president and chief business officer Hunter Campbell as talks get underway for what could be a massive fight for the promotion.

“I had a brief phone meeting with UFC‘s lawyer Hunter a few days ago,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “As of right now I expressed to him that anywhere around $8 to $10 million would be way too low for a fight of this magnitude. That’s all that has been discussed so far.

“I’m supposed to be waiting for what their offer is going to be. Really hoping the numbers are nowhere near that low. I guess we will see what happens.”

Obviously, Jones isn’t saying if that number he released at $8 to $10 million is base pay or more likely the amount of money he’d make after pay-per-view sales are recouped. While pay disclosures are rarely public these days, the UFC has never paid higher than $3 million, which is what Conor McGregor took home for his fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov back in 2018.

Typically fighters receiving pay-per-view revenue end up with much higher paydays depending on the overall sales for an event, which is how superstars like McGregor take home multi-millions for a fight regardless of the base pay.

According to Jones, he knows the kind of attention a fight against Ngannou is already producing, which he believes would then translate to huge pay-per-view sales for the UFC when the bout actually happens.

“One thing I’m sure of, I’ve never had more people excited to see a fight than they are now,” Jones said. “I literally can’t walk to my mail box without someone asking me about the fight.”

Jones has been embroiled in a heated battle with the UFC over his pay for the past year after he first hinted at a move to heavyweight for a fight against Ngannou prior to him becoming champion.

UFC President Dana White has previously scoffed at Jones’ demands, claming that the former light heavyweight champion was asking for “Deontay Wilder money” after the boxer reportedly made around $30 million for his rematch against Tyson Fury in early 2020.

For his part, Jones feels like he’s only asking for what he’s truly owed, especially considering what he’s been making for the majority of his career.

“I’ve been working my ass off for years, concussions, surgeries, fighting the toughest competition UFC had to offer throughout my 20s for right around $2 million per fight,” Jones revealed. “I’m just trying to have my payday, the fight that all of us fighters believe is one day possible.

“I tweeted show me the money and that evidently pissed off the boss. What a learning lesson. I feel like if Conor would’ve sent that same tweet there would have been whiskey night. I believe I was grossly underpaid throughout my entire 20s. I’m not even here b*tching about that. I just want to see the future done right.”

Jones has been part of numerous big pay-per-views over the years including a pair of fights against Daniel Cormier that both reportedly produced more than 800,000 buys.

It remains to be seen if the UFC will cater to Jones’ demands, especially with White already stating that Derrick Lewis was also a potential opponent for Ngannou after they previously fought back in 2018. Based on Jones’ figures, Lewis seems like he’s more than ready to sign on the dotted line for that kind of payday.

“I’ll do it for $8 million,” Lewis tweeted, with Jones responding shortly after.

For his part, Ngannou has stated that he definitely wants the Jones fight next but he also doesn’t want to hold up the heavyweight division waiting for those negotiations to conclude as he targets a return to action in late summer after knocking out Stipe Miocic at UFC 260.

Jones is also stressing the impact that a fight with Ngannou could have on MMA as a whole, comparing the bout to the famous Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman “Rumble in the Jungle” boxing bout from October 1974.

With more delay, Jones is pointing the finger at his longtime promoter.

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