UFC president Dana White says Jon Jones wants “Deontay Wilder money" ($25 or 30 million) to superfight top heavyweight Francis Ngannou. Jones says he never asked an specific amount, and the contract negotiation via Twitter escalated, with Jones now saying he has given up his belt.
On the DC & Helwani Show, Jones' arch-rival, former champ champ Daniel Cormier said he believes Jones is serious.
“I believe that he is more serious about walking away because in all those times that he was suspended and hurt and all that other stuff - gone - he kinda learned to live without that belt,” said Cormier, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “For a long time he held the belt that when he lost the belt the first time, he probably thought his world was ending. But then he was gone for two years and life probably didn’t seem all that different. So he’s probably looking at life right now and understanding that, ‘if I walk away from this belt, is my life really gonna change all that much?’ I think that gives him comfort, and being able to say the things that he’s saying. So I think to a degree he does believe, I do believe, that he’s serious.”
"Both of these guys have big egos. Not many people stand up to Dana White in this way and Jon Jones feels as though he’s so valuable that Dana White shouldn’t stand up to him in that way. I feel like anytime - it’s more public than normal - but if you think negotiations in football, baseball, basketball don’t resemble this, ‘Well I’m walking away,’ and then they come back to the table, ‘Well I’m walking away,’ and then they come back to the table, you’re insane. It happens at every level in every single sport, just not as publicly. It’s hidden behind a whole bunch of beautiful words.”
“I won the belt in 2015. I got me a good contract and I told Dana and Lorenzo, ‘I don’t plan on losing the belt but if I do, at least make my pay 300 grand.’ Remember when former champions used to make $300,000 and it was a pretty good contract? That’s my contract today! $300,000 as the challenger, because luckily for me, I never lost that belt, so I had the same contract making all that money from 2015 to 2019. So when it’s time for me to go and negotiate my fight purse for Stipe Miocic, you think today I want to make $300,000 to fight? No. Do you think I’m gonna make $300,000 to fight? No. I’m gonna talk to them and we’ve had beginning conversations, and they’re going to take care of you, it’s just a matter of how you approach the conversation."
“I am almost 100 percent certain that the UFC would pay a $7-8 million base for him to go fight Francis, and if he’s such a big star and it’s going to do so well, then maybe the pay-per-view will get you to the number that you want it to be. If it has as much intrigue as people are saying it does. And then that’s on the fans. It’s on the fans who are supporting you in this fight to go out and purchase the fight and when they do, now you make all the money that you need. That’s how I feel.”
“I don’t think he’s wrong. The guy really understands his value and he’s going to stick to his guns, good for you.”