The turbulent relationship between Dana White, the UFC, and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones continued through the weekend with the latest chess move being a surprising one made Sunday afternoon.
On Twitter, Jones said he was willing to relinquish his championship ("Veni, vidi, vici") and that top contenders Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz should fight for the title instead. When a fan asked him if he was "revoking" his title, he answered yes.
"As of right now, I got nothing to really gain fighting either of them. Let me know if you guys want to set up a day in 2021 for that Izzy fight. Hopefully you guys will be willing to pay by then,"he tweeted, 'Izzy' is in reference to middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
After hearing White's post-UFC Fight Night press conference Saturday in which the UFC president continued to say it was "crazy" for Jones to ask for $20 or $30 million to fight top contender Francis Ngannou at heavyweight, Jones (on Twitter) questioned why he was being painted in such a light and asked for his release:
"The reporter asked Dana to show the text messages instead he gives a 55 second response talking about why would I lie. At no point did I ever demand anything from you Dana, I simply asked for a Super fight and asked to be compensated for it. You are the one who started talking negotiations publicly and showing the world how much you’ve been withholding from your athletes this whole time.
"Hunter and I had a very respectful conversation, I love how you’re trying to paint this picture of me being some angry guy disrespectfully demanding money. And then bringing up my out of the cage affairs to justify under paying me by tens of millions for years You’re talking all that big guy stuff about not caring, put your money where your mouth is and release me from that contract."
These recent issues started when White said the heavyweight superfight between Jones and Ngannou wasn't happening due to Jones' money demands. While he initially was vague about the amount, White later said Jones (26-1-0-1) was asking for "Deontay Wilder money", a reference to the heavyweight champion boxer who made $30 million for a recent fight.
Indications are that Jones, who recently signed a new deal, was asking for $15 million given the magnitude of the fight and denied asking for $30 million. White said text messages exist that prove it, but is declining to release them. 'Hunter' is UFC EVP Hunter Campbell who White is deferring management of this situation to.
The 32-year-old and the UFC have had problems in the past given Jones' proclivity to legal issues ranging from drug test failures (PEDs and cocaine) to a 2015 hit and run incident involving a pregnant woman. There was also a dispute with UFC 151 in August 2012 when Jones declined to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice when Dan Henderson had to pull out. White canceled the event and sent out a press release says Jones and head coach Greg Jackson "murdered" the event by not taking the fight.
Yet, the UFC has brought him back repeatedly and put him in championship opportunities with White calling him the greatest fighter of all time as recent as Friday. Jones has three successful defenses in his current title reign, last defeating Reyes in a controversial unanimous decision in February.