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Jon Jones' situation sheds light on the unequal relationship between the UFC and its fighters

  • Jon Jones recently went on record to talk about how UFC is refusing to entertain his request
  • Jon Jones revealed that the UFC is not willing to upgrade or renegotiate his contract despite promising to do so in past.
Paarth Pande
Modified 23 May 2020, 12:58 IST

UFC 239 Jones v Santos
UFC 239 Jones v Santos

Jon Jones stands as the most dominant champion in the UFC today. With a record of 26-1 (1NC) and wins over the likes of Daniel Cormier, Mauricio Rua, and Ryan Badder, he has repeatedly proven that there isn't much competition to him in the light-heavyweight division. Such is his aura that a closely competed fight against Dominick Reyes is termed as a loss by a massive section of the fan base and him not securing a finish win in his last three fights is declared as a decline.

With this kind of control over the weight class, it isn't surprising that Jon Jones wanted to move up and capture a second title, something that's the trend of the season. However, in a recent interview with John Morgan, Jones revealed that the UFC is simply not allowing that move. He said,

"Honestly, I'm just in a spot where I'm shocked. I feel like the UFC have told me and my management team for years that if I ever wanted to reach a certain level in the sport and really get to a certain level of pay, that I had to take the really big fights, and I had to kind of step out of my comfort zone and be willing to take those megafights - and specifically, the heavyweight division. The UFC clearly told me that they would redo my contract the day I went heavyweight, and it would be a different deal, so I've always held that in my back pocket, that my goal is to fight at light heavyweight for a long time until I got to a place that I've got nothing else to prove, and then retire as a heavyweight with some real big fights – risk putting it all on the line against these guys that could cause some serious damage. Thursday, I found out that that's just simply not happening, and it's upsetting. I feel like someone's put a little bit of a limit on my ceiling."

The refusal to entertain Jon Jones and his request.

In the same interview he went into detail revealed that the UFC simply refused to redo the contract despite promising to do so for years, they simply refused to listen. If Jones moves up it will definitely be a high-risk move for him. The heavyweight division is close to 60 pounds above Jones's current weight class, which is almost three weight classes. Which all of sudden makes his bewilderment very clear.

"Even if you didn't want to change my contract, the fact that they didn't want to sign me up for a one-fight deal to fight a guy that's 40 pounds bigger than me, the scariest dude on the planet – Francis Ngannou, the guy that nobody wants to fight, I'm willing to fight him while being smaller than him, and you're not going to pay me $1 more? You mean to tell me that this fight isn't worth anything more than me stepping in against a Jan Blachowicz? It's just insulting. Everyone would love to see me take this risk, and they offered me zero upside. They offered me absolutely zero upside."

This entire saga yet again brings attention to a very prevalent problem with the way UFC functions and treats its fighters. Jon Jones is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time and is someone who's achieved a lot in a very short span. If he wants to, he should totally get to fight superfights and get the money he deserves.

However, the UFC simply isn't ready to pay him and now the fight has come to a halt. Because Jon Jones asked for (justifiably) more money, the UFC simply blocked the match, and Jon Jones can do nothing about it. This situation explains why boxers earn more than MMA fighters, in Boxing promoters can't hold fighters at ransom like this and have to give fighters the pay they want.


The global domination that the UFC currently has puts it in a position of monopoly over the best fighters on the planet. Thus making it impossible for anyone to take head on the UFC. Hence when anyone not named McGregor nowadays asks for more money the UFC brass simply rejects the deal they bring on the table without any consideration.

Published 23 May 2020, 12:58 IST
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