The war of words between UFC president Dana White and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been escalating since the two sides failed to reach financial terms on a potential fight between Jones and top heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou. While fans were excited to see the unpredictable fight between two of the sport's best -- and the long-awaited move to heavyweight by Jones -- White has gone on record saying Jones asked for an "absurd amount of money."
According to White, those "absurd" demands were to be paid on par with another combat sports superstar.
"I'll quote him and what he had said to my lawyer," White said. "He told my lawyer he wants what Deontay Wilder was paid. I think it was $30 million was what Deontay Wilder was paid."
When former WBC heavyweight boxing champion Wilder fought Tyson Fury in February, he was guaranteed $25 million plus a percentage of pay-per-view revenue. That number would be high by UFC standards, but the fight would be a major risk for Jones who'd be moving up to face maybe the most dangerous man in the sport.
White was not willing to agree to those terms and said the fight would not happen, especially considering the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the company.
After White's statements, Jones again posted on Twitter, writing, "Don't be a f---ing liar, my reputation has already taking enough hits. I don't need this bulls--- Dana. I never asked for [Deontay] Wilder's numbers. And how about since [Deontay] is making 30 million, we settle for half of that. Since you said I'm the goat and everything."
"I don't even make half of half of what [Deontay] Wilder makes," Jones continued in his next tweet. "If my reputation causes you to undervalue me this much. Just go ahead and release me from my @ufc contract altogether. I'm sure some promoter somewhere will be more than happy to pick me up."
The situation has escalated sharply in recent days, especially after White appeared on ESPN on Wednesday as the Twitter jabs started from the champ.
After White appeared on ESPN, Jones took to Twitter to issue a string of responses, stating, "It's interesting to just sit here and watch your boss lie to the camera like this. We never discussed any increase in pay. Immediately the conversation was that I already made enough. I never made a number offer."
Jones also tweeted, "I was over the situation, but I'm not gonna sit back and allow Dana to lie to the fans. I never asked for an absurd amount of money. That's bulls---."
White has instead been pushing the idea of Jones rematching Dominick Reyes on the heels of their highly-controversial showdown in February. Jones was awarded a unanimous decision victory to retain his title in a fight many felt he had lost on the scorecards.