Jon Jones on Friday denied he asked for $30 million to fight heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou, starting another back and forth between UFC President Dana White and the former UFC light heavyweight champ as his heavyweight future remained in limbo.
White on Friday indicated the UFC had moved on from a heavyweight title fight between Ngannou and Jones after he said Jones had sought the ten-figure payday. The promotion was instead working on a fight between Ngannou and Lewis, who jumped at an $8 million payday as Jones and White sparred in the media over pay.
“I never discussed wanting 30 million with you or [UFC executive] Hunter [Campbell],” Jones wrote. “[Dana White] just wondering where you heard that number? Is someone speaking with you on my behalf or...”
I never discussed wanting 30 million with you or Hunter @danawhite just wondering where you heard that number? Is someone speaking with you on my behalf or...— BONY (@JonnyBones) April 23, 2021
Jones’ response was the latest indication of a fraying relationship between the ex-champ and his longtime promoter. After White balked a his request to “show me the money” for a fight with Ngannou, he said Lewis was “the fight to make” against the new champ, who knocked out Stipe Miocic this past month to claim the belt. A frustrated Jones asked to be released from contract before expressing confidence the blockbuster fight would eventually get made.
Prior to Ngannou’s knockout win (and Jones’ request for a pay bump), White had said the former light heavyweight kingpin was first in line for the winner of Ngannou vs. Miocic. But he said Jones’ upfront demands forced a change of direction.
“In his deal, he’s talking he wants $30 million guaranteed,” White said. “The way that this works is these guys all share in the pay-per-view, so you just said yourself you think that this is gonna be a big fight. I agree with you and think it’s gonna be a big fight, well he will share in the profits of the fight. That’s how it works. That’s how you run a business and you don’t go broke, that’s how that works.”
Jones, 33, has been bulking up in anticipation of a move to heavyweight after giving up the light heavyweight title amid another dispute over money with the UFC. His most recent fight took place February 2020 at UFC 247, where he won a unanimous decision over Dominick Reyes.