Jon Jones has sat out before, only this time he’s willing to do on his own accord. The oft-troubled UFC light heavyweight champion says he’s willing to stay sidelined for up to three years if he doesn’t get what he feels he deserves financially to return to the octagon.
“I don’t want to fight soon,” Jones said on the “Wild Ride! With Steve-O” podcast. “I have no interest in fighting in the UFC until I get paid what I believe I’m worth.
“If I have to have a bad relationship with Dana [White], sit out for two years, three years, to bring light to what’s happening, then these are the things people remember you for more than winning belts. I stood for the younger fighters.”
Jones has been locked in a bitter feud with White, which escalated in May when the UFC boss publicly ripped him at a press conference. Jones had asked White to free him from his contract.
Jones said he knows of UFC fighters living out of gyms due to low wages, which is part of why he is speaking up now. He last fought in February, defeating Dominick Reyes, and was in talks to meet heavyweight Francis Ngannou before the financial dispute started.
Jones has even said he is willing to let his belt become vacant unless he gets what he wants.
He isn’t alone: several UFC fighters have voiced similar concerns. Welterweight star Jorge Masvidal has been among the most vocal, turning down a shot to fight welterweight champion Kamaru Usman because of a low-ball offer.
“Yeah I’m gonna fight this year,” Masvidal said on his YouTube channel. “God willing, I’m gonna fight this year. What’s not gonna happen is I’m not gonna be played or underpaid, that’s for sure. I have a value, a formula we’ve come up with for what I’m worth, and that comes off 16 years of doing this, of seeing the field in and out. I’m not some rookie, I’m not some guy challenging for the title for the first time in my life.
“I’ve been in this position before in different organizations and stuff and we know how to calculate what I bring in and I want a fair share of what I bring in. … It’s about how much I want to receive from the pay-per-view, how much share I want from the PPV, that’s one of the many things I’m fighting about. I don’t feel that that cut is fair and I don’t agree with it.”