UFC light heavyweight champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones seemingly relinquished his title on Sunday amid a pay dispute with MMA’s flagship promotion.
Jones has been linked with a match-up against heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou in recent weeks, a bout that would mark Jones’ first contest in a division other than light heavyweight in the UFC.
But any chance of the fight happening appeared to dissipate over the weekend, as Jones and UFC president Dana White engaged in a public dispute over the former’s pay.
“To the light-heavyweight title – veni, vidi, vici,” tweeted Jones. Asked if was giving up his title, he wrote: “Yes.”
When one of Jones’ Twitter followers suggested the American was doing more damage to himself than UFC by walking away, Jones said: “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.”
Following UFC’s last card, on Saturday night in Las Vegas, White said: ”[Jones] can do whatever he wants to do. He can sit out, he can fight, he can whatever.
“Jon Jones can say whatever he wants publicly. It’s his God-given right here in America. He can say whatever he wants. And when he’s ready to come back and fight, he can.”
White added that Jones (26-1, 1 NC) wanted “crazy” money to fight Ngannou (15-3), who is seen as one of the most dangerous competitors in the sport. The Cameroonian-Frenchman is on a four-fight win streak, with all of those victories coming via first-round knockout. In his last bout, Ngannou defeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds.
Meanwhile, Jones last fought in February, successfully defending his light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes via unanimous decision, though many fans believe the challenger should have been awarded the victory.
On Monday, Jones uploaded an Instagram video that appears to show him attempting to prevent rioters from causing damage in his hometown of Albuquerque, where protestors marched in support of George Floyd, a black American who died in Minneapolis a week ago after a police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes.