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Is Jon Jones justified in asking for more than $10 million to fight Francis Ngannou?

UFC 214 Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones
UFC 214 Daniel Cormier vs. Jon Jones
ANALYST
Modified 07 Apr 2021
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The ongoing feud between Jon Jones and the UFC doesn't look like it's going to be resolved anytime soon.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion continues to tweet about his annoyance at the promotion. Meanwhile, it looks like the UFC is keen to move on to a Francis Ngannou vs Derrick Lewis rematch in July.

Is Jon Jones justified in asking for $10 million-plus to fight the new heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou? Or will his hefty asking price end up with him waiting on the sidelines for the foreseeable future?

Jon Jones' point of view

Jon Jones believes he’s earned the $10 million-plus payday he’s looking for to face Francis Ngannou. If you look at his UFC career so far it’s hard to argue against that.

He’s undefeated as a UFC champion, winning 15 title bouts in the octagon. ‘Bones’ was the youngest UFC champion at just 23 and holds multiple UFC records.

Jones is already in the UFC Hall of Fame (fight wing) for his epic fight with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165.

On top of all these achievements, the 33-year-old has proven himself to be a PPV draw. Now he’s not on the level of Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey/Brock Lesnar but his PPV record is respectable.

His top UFC PPV buy rate was UFC 214 for his rematch against Daniel Cormier, which did 860,000 buys. Their first fight did 800,000 while his rematch with Gustafsson and grudge match with Rashad Evans both did 700,000. These numbers are all above the UFC PPV yearly average.

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The fight against Ngannou is predicted to do well over 1 million PPV buys.

Jones went on Steve-O's podcast to share his thoughts on his current pay dispute with the UFC. He believes that Dana White doesn't like him and that they offered him no more money to move up to heavyweight.

You can watch the interview below.


Heavyweight boxing comparison

Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury 2
Deontay Wilder v Tyson Fury 2

UFC president Dana White has repeatedly mentioned that Jones wants Wilder/Fury money. Now when many fans hear this they automatically take White’s side, a UFC champion doesn’t deserve the same pay as a world boxing champion… right?

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Let’s look at what Wilder and Fury earned for their rematch in 2018 and how many PPV buys the fight did.

It was reported that the heavyweight boxing rematch did between 800,000 - 850,000 pay-per-view buys at the price of $79.95.

The Nevada State Athletic Commission disclosed that the contractually guaranteed purses for Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury were both $5 million.

However, as noted by ESPN's Dan Rafael, both men are guaranteed more than $25 million, plus a percentage of the pay-per-view receipts.

So to recap, the big boxing PPV did slightly less than Jon Jones' top UFC PPV buy rate, yet the two boxers involved both made over $25 million.


UFC point of view

The relationship between Jon Jones and UFC president Dana White has not been a smooth one. There has been a history of missteps from Jon Jones that have damaged the UFC’s business.

Dana White would argue that Jones is not worth ‘Deontay Wilder money’ and is not in the same league as the former boxing champion. Still, Jones has sold thousands more pay-per-views over the past 10 years than Wilder could ever dream of.

The UFC does not give in to fighter complaints which have resulted in many strained relationships, Conor McGregor included.

The UFC is somewhat of a monopoly in MMA with all of their leverage, so why would they pay Jon Jones top dollar when they can simply book Derrick Lewis for half the price (and hassle).

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What does the UFC heavyweight champion think?

We have heard what Jon Jones wants and the response from Dana White, but what does the current UFC heavyweight champion think?

Francis Ngannou has heaped praise on former UFC light heavyweight champion Jones. He believes that Jones deserves a big payday and would love to face the GOAT in the octagon.

Now some could say that Francis understands a fight with Jones would earn him a lot more money than a fight against Derrick Lewis. So it's smart for the champ to support Jon Jones' calls for a higher payday.

Published 07 Apr 2021, 12:57 IST
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