UFC president Dana White says it’s up to light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones whether he wants to walk away from the sport.
Jones, rated the top pound-for-pound fighter on the UFC roster, told his 2.3 million Twitter followers Sunday that he is giving up his title over a pay dispute with the UFC.
On Monday, White weighed in with a brief statement.
“Jon Jones is one of the greatest to ever do it,” said White. “The decision he wants to make regarding his career is up to him. The reality is that he’s made enough money from fighting that he’s now in the position to retire and never work again in his life.”
Jones, 32, made other headlines Sunday when video showed him taking away spray cans from two youths during civil unrest in Albuquerque, N.M., where he trains.
“As a young black man, trust me, I’m frustrated as well but this is not the way,” Jones wrote on Instagram “We are starting to make a bad situation worse.”
He also shared video of him helping with cleanup efforts, carrying plywood to board up buildings.
Jones (26-1-0 with one-no contest) had presented his side of the beef with the UFC via social media
He had been eyeing a super-fight with hard-punching Francis Ngannou, currently ranked second among heavyweight contenders, but said the UFC did not want to pay him enough.
Speaking after Saturday’s UFC show in Las Vegas, White said the fighter wanted “crazy” money, citing demands of US$15 million, $20 million and $30 million.
Jones denied those figures.
“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,” he said in another tweet.
He said he was done being champion.
“To the light-heavyweight title — veni, vidi, vici,” tweeted Jones, using the Latin phrase of “I came, I saw, I conquered,” attributed to Julius Caesar.
Asked if was giving up his title, he tweeted “Yes.”
When a follower suggested he was hurting himself more than the UFC, Jones replied: “I hurt myself every time I walk out there and take a punch to the head and not feel my pay is worth it anymore.”
While seen as perhaps the greatest MMA fighter ever, Jones has been in the news for the wrong reasons more often than not since he was involved in a hit-and-run accident with a pregnant woman and stripped of his title in 2015.
Jones has defended the 205-pound title 11 times and been stripped of the championship belt twice, once for violating the UFC’s athlete code of conduct (in 2015) and once for failing a drug test (in 2017). He also lost the interim title in 2016 after a positive drug test.