01 Jan Dana White: Jon Jones wanted Deontay Wilder money for heavyweight fight with Francis Ngannou
For a fight that’s not happening, Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou seems to be the only matchup anyone is talking about these days.
Lately the conversation has shifted from the interest in Jones moving to heavyweight for the first time in his career to the problems that prevented the fight from actually taking place. A war of words between Jones and UFC president Dana White has led to both tossing out accusations about the financial figures that were discussed when trying to make that fantasy fight booking become a reality.
Jones called White a liar after he claimed the reigning light heavyweight champion asked for an “absurd” amount of money for that fight. While he didn’t reveal any specific amounts at the time, White is now ready to at least hint at the kind of windfall that Jones wanted to set foot in the Octagon with Ngannou standing across from him.
“I’ll quote him and what he had said to my lawyer. He told my lawyer he wants what Deontay Wilder was paid,” White revealed on Friday. “I think it was $30 million was what Deontay Wilder was paid.”
Former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder was paid $5 million in disclosed money for his rematch with Tyson Fury back in February but his guaranteed pay was more than $25 million as well as additional money coming from pay-per-view bonuses. White is obviously referencing the higher end of that pay scale when comparing it to Jones’ request.
Of course, Jones denied that he ever asked for that much money and called White’s comments “absolute bullsh*t” after hearing that from the UFC president.
“It’s fun working out in the gym in the morning and seeing tweets from Jon Jones saying I’m lying,” White said in response. “We have text messages from Jon Jones. It’s not like I can’t prove what I’m saying is true. We have text messages from him but I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to put his text messages out in the press.
“If Jon Jones wants to sit down and take a lie detector test about who’s lying and who’s not, we can do that, too.”
Despite the constant back-and-forth regarding negotiations for this fight, White promises that he’s not trying to engage in a battle with Jones no matter what it looks like publicly.
Instead, White praised Jones for his accomplishments inside the Octagon where he’s undefeated in 14 title bouts with the most defenses of the light heavyweight title in UFC history.
“I don’t want to go there with this guy,” White said. “The guy’s made a lot of money. If you look at Jon Jones’ track record, show me somebody that has the track record that this guy has and has made the money that Jon Jones has made. It doesn’t happen. It’s not like I’m out here on some smash Jon Jones crusade. I like Jon.
“I’m the one actually saying there is no debate, there is no argument. He’s the GOAT. No matter what you think of his last two fights, the three people that matter said he won the fight. The guy’s gone undefeated. He’s fought everybody. He’s fought all the best in the world despite what he’s been doing to himself outside of the Octagon. Going through legal battles, drugs and alcohol, all the things that have gone on with Jon Jones, he is still the world champion.”
For what it’s worth, Jones’ last publicly disclosed pay was $500,000 with no win bonus for his split decision win over Thiago Santos at UFC 239 in 2019.