Posted 06/03/2014 by McKinley Noble in MMA Buzz

Jon Jones’ UFC Contract Feud is the Best Thing

Jon Jones’ refusal to fight Alexander Gustafsson is fantastic.

Not good nor bad—simply fantastic.

Inside the UFC Octagon, “Bones” is constantly displaying amazing physical feats and rapidly-evolving fight I.Q. that no one can match. Outside of the cage, he’s a whirling, immature, frenzied mess of a person, offending fans and fighting with his employers. Even his Instagram account, where Jones constantly trolls his own fans, is high comedy.

But this week, Jones is doing something even more amazing.

Right now, the #1 pound-for-pound UFC fighter is actively being buried for not signing his fight agreement to a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson, who gave/received a beating to/from the champion in a Hellish five-round “Fight of the Year” candidate at UFC 165.

Seriously, who on Earth DOESN'T want to see this again?

Seriously, who on Earth DOESN’T want to see this again?


Everyone wants to see that fight again.

(It’s even the demo on the recently-dropped demo of EA Sports UFC.)

Dana White says he doesn’t like that Jones hasn’t signed yet, lots of fans don’t like it, and even Jones’ head coach Greg Jackson isn’t sure what the hold-up is all about (via MMA Mania).

What makes it even better? Jones wants Daniel Cormier instead.

Yes, that Daniel Cormier.

The Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix winner. The undefeated Olympic hopeful who turned Dan Henderson inside-out. The man who demolished Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Josh Barnett, Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, and a barista.

To this author’s untrained eye, that seems like the much tougher match-up, even considering how badly Gustafsson clobbered Jones.

But it’s not what the UFC or Dana White wants, and they’re doing everything they can to pressure the champ.

Smart fight fans who can see the big picture can acknowledge two separate, completely independent ideas: (1) This is a clever, brilliant tactic by Jones to bleed the UFC for money or favors; and (2) it’s absolutely maddening that Jones is delaying his next fight, whomever it’s against.

Either way, Jones is (probably) going to get what he wants.

And as we learned at UFC 151, money isn’t everything and Jones doesn’t jump when Dana White says so.

He’s the complete opposite of a company man, a very Anderson Silva-esque quality that Jones can afford since he’s the best MMA fighter on Earth right now.

If he says he’s not going to fight someone, Jones isn’t going to fight, and damn the consequences.

(Who’s going to force him?)

He doesn’t care if you paid in advance for tickets, he doesn’t care if you can’t get the deposit back on that hotel room, and he doesn’t care how badly anyone wants him to do “what’s best for the sport” at the time.



So, where do we go from here?

At some point, Jones has to fight somebody, and the UFC isn’t going to let one of their only remaining box office draws take his ball and go home. Jones will sign an agreement. It’s just going to be on his terms.

Let’s break down the possibilities:

  • Jones fights Gustafsson.
  • Jones fights Cormier.
  • Jones holds out on the UFC for months and misses UFC 177 (of UFC 178) altogether.
  • Cormier fights Gustafsson for an interim title.
  • Cormier defends the interim title if Jones sits out or gets injured.
  • Jon Jones is removed from the UFC rankings, just like “inactive” Nate Diaz.

If things got really out of hand, Dana White could even strip Jon Jones of the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

Of course, that’s bonkers, and would be a huge mistake. But it would definitely be the MMA Story of the Year, and White’s just petty enough to do it. The thought of it is thrilling.

Everything is crazy in MMA today, it’s amazing, and we should enjoy it while it lasts.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble