UFC president Dana White has been here before. Over his tenure at the promotion, he’s been at odds with plenty of superstar fighters where a disagreement eventually boils over into a heated war of words.
Currently, he’s embroiled in a nasty back-and-forth with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones over the money he reportedly wanted to change divisions and face Francis Ngannou. White called Jones’ demands “absurd” and later said the champ asked for money comparable to boxer Deontay Wilder, who reportedly made around $30 million for his most recent fight.
Jones quickly fired back, saying he was going to vacate his UFC title and walk away from the sport after spending almost his entire career with the organization.
While the two sides obviously haven’t settled their differences yet, White sounds confident that eventually he’ll find some kind of middle ground with Jones. After all, he’s managed to come to agreements with past rivals like Tito Ortiz.
“You’re not always going to agree on everything,” White said on Eddie Hearn’s Talk the Talk podcast. “Jon Jones and I do not agree on something right now. We’re having a disagreement, but Jon Jones is a partner in this business. Conor McGregor is a partner in this business. The list goes on and on. When you get to that level, when you become a star or a world champion like these guys are, they’re a partner.
“We don’t agree right now on things, and we’re going to fight and we say things, the thing that’s going on in public, and eventually you get to a point where you get tired of fighting and you figure it out. It’s like any other relationship.”
White wasn’t asked specifically about Jones’ comments regarding his title, or potentially leaving the sport over this current spat with the UFC president.
If there’s a reason for White’s characterization of Jones as a partner, it’s because he’s got a vested interest in seeing the promotion succeed – that will also pad his bottom line as well.
“The way that it works in the UFC, these guys that become these big stars, become partners,” White said. “They become partners in the pay-per-view and selling the pay-per-view. That’s how we all make money.
“But every one of those guys that you mentioned from the Chuck Liddells to the Anderson Silvas to the Georges St-Pierres to the Jon Joneses, Ronda Rousey, they all brought something different to the table.”
Jones hasn’t addressed his future with the UFC since the series of messages he released on Sunday. As of now, he’s still listed as the light heavyweight champion on the UFC’s official website.