After Francis N’Gannou captured the heavyweight title this weekend at UFC 260, MMA fans almost immediately started speculating on a super fight between the new champion and former light heavyweight champ, Jon Jones. Jones took to Twitter and started talking about the fight and his requirements for the fight. His one stipulation: pay him what he’s worth.
Show me the money
— BONY (@JonnyBones) March 28, 2021
I’m not a fan of Jon Jones as a person. I actively root for him to lose. His past antics are something I find hard to get past. But looking at it objectively, I believe he is correct: he isn’t paid his worth. Anyone looking at it objectively would be forced to agree.
In his last fight, Jones defeated Dominick Reyes via decision. In that fight, he made $540,000. It was his 13th win, and 14th if you count the second Cormier fight which is a no contest. He’s one of the greatest fights of all time with one of the resumes in MMA history. Let me circle back. He made $540,000 for his 13th title defense. Now he wants to move up and make history by winning his second belt at heavyweight. $540,000. That’s it.
Jon Jones Using His Platform
Jones is doing this entire thing for his own monetary gain, for sure. He reaps the benefits of being paid more of course. But Jones is doing something only he can do currently: bringing light to a long standing issue in mixed martial arts. The pay gap between MMA fighters and boxing, who have a similar model, is astounding. Even Conor McGregor, the highest paid fighter in the promotion, makes pennies compared to boxing’s B tier stars.
But Jon Jones is criminally underpaid. His situation puts him in a position to do something that Conor McGregor could not do. He can vouch for the rest of the athletes and campaign for them to get paid more. While McGregor may be underpaid, Jones is even more extreme of a case.
With one of the biggest stars in the sport campaigning for more pay, and doing it so publicly, sheds light on the situation and gets fans and media talking about it. While I believe collective bargaining is the way to go and Jones isn’t really campaigning for that, more so for himself, he’s rallying fighters of all levels and popularity to call for him to get his worth as well.
I’m aware Jon Jones has signed a contract and agreed to a number to get paid, holding him to that is crap. Fighters who show they are worth more than the original contract get the opportunity to renegotiate a new contract. Masvidal and O’Malley have actually done that and leveraged their stardom for more money. Why shouldn’t Jon Jones do the same?
It all boils down to Jones deserving more money, which he does. Love him or hate him, Jones publicly negotiating is good for him and the rest of the athletes in the UFC.