Jon Jones
Jon Jones Credit score: Mike Sloan/

Should you grew up across the time of the 94-95 baseball strike, than you’re used to athletes and house owners squabbling over cash. It was a piece stoppage that drove followers away from sport, and as any Canadian baseball fan will let you know, it value the Montreal Expos the World Collection. In fact, there’s no option to truly know that, however we’ll insist it’s true regardless.

Battles over wage, pensions, advantages and the like are close to common in skilled sports activities. Good luck discovering an proprietor who isn’t fascinated with extra money. Good luck discovering a participant who isn’t looking for themselves. Positive, there’s the odd proprietor who’s keen to spend to win, however finally they reap the rewards as a rule. In fact there’s the occasional participant keen to take a hometown low cost — and who doesn’t love these? However they’re outliers, not the norm.

Skilled sports activities is a enterprise, and companies place revenue on a pedestal above all else, 99 instances out of 100.

So the UFC and Jon Jones butting heads over wage is absolutely no shock. The shock, frankly, is that it’s taken this lengthy. The MMA media, derided by promotion president Dana White for numerous misdeeds like inaccurate headlines or simply plain being wimps, have been sounding the alarm for years. Fighters deserve extra. They’re not spoiled baseball gamers whose minimal wage on the main league degree was over half one million {dollars} a season in 2019. These are athletes who take a extreme quantity of bodily harm, who’re typically preventing for as little as $10,000 within the sport’s largest promotion.

Minus bills.

Which brings us to Jones’ newest revelations. Which aren’t any small shock in case you work within the MMA world, and even pay shut consideration. Jones, who has been preventing the UFC over pay since negotiations for a combat with Francis Ngannou fell by means of, appeared on Steve-O’s Wild Journey podcast not too long ago, stating that he has no want to combat any time quickly.

As an alternative, the promotion’s reigning mild heavyweight champion stated that “I’ve no real interest in preventing within the UFC till I receives a commission what I imagine I’m value.”

Now, Jones has made tens of millions with the UFC. However he’s one of many fortunate few to have executed so. And by way of drawing energy versus wage, compared to practically each different sport, together with the oft-made comparability to boxing, Jones most likely isn’t incomes what he might, had he gone in a course aside from MMA.

The boxing comparability isn’t good. However take into account that for his combat in opposition to Liam Smith, Canelo Alvarez earned a assured $3.5 million. The combat reportedly noticed about 300,000 buys. For Jon Jones, at UFC 239 in opposition to Thiago Santos, the assured cash was $500,000 per the Nevada Athletic Fee.

Yikes. In fact, there are extra elements at play. Together with PPV {dollars}. However take into account that Jones has traditionally by no means had a disclosed payday increased than $500,000. And take into account his estimated buyrates for UFC 232 (700,000), UFC 145 (700,000), UFC 214 (860,000). Whereas the UFC has by no means formally launched figures, except these estimates are manner off the mark, Jones is taking house lower than 1 / 4 of disclosed pay compared to Canelo Alvarez — who would even be eligible for PPV cash.

That’s simply Jones, one of many promotion’s largest stars, who Dana White has repeatedly defended as the best of all time. The UFC has traditionally butted heads with everybody from Nate Diaz to Conor McGregor to Jorge Masvidal to Georges St. Pierre over the topic of cash. Now take Jones’ different statements into consideration.

“Many of the guys who’re doing absolutely the worst will not be within the place that they will say publicly, ‘I’ve a second job, I’m borrowing cash from my dad and mom,’” Jones stated on Wild Journey. “I do know so many fighters who’re residing within the Jackson-Wink MMA gymnasium as a result of they will’t afford to have their very own condominium, and so they’re UFC fighters. So that is unhappy.”

Now think about the back-up catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays residing within the staff’s coaching facility. See an issue but? MMA is a sport the place in case you don’t win, you lose half your cash. If you’re underpaid from the beginning, staying within the sport, having a profession in it, turns into an issue. Half-time jobs shouldn’t be required for established fighters within the largest MMA promotion on the earth, but right here we’re.

Once more, that is nothing new for these of us who comply with the game day-by-day, or who work in it. So what have we actually realized from Jon Jones’ newest revelations about fighter pay?

Nothing we didn’t already know, sadly.

Possibly we’ll begin to see change. Jones, for all his foibles, appears to be taking an affordable strategy with this. “I’m not asking for something outrageous, and I do know we’re in a pandemic, and I do know if you’re a multimillionaire and also you’re asking for extra, it makes you appear to be this grasping individual,” he informed Steve-O. “I’m very conscious of all of this, however I’m additionally very conscious that I’ve the voice and the platform to make change.”

May this be an indication of a maturing Jon Jones? “If I’ve to have a nasty relationship with Dana, sit out for 2 years, three years, to deliver mild to what’s taking place, then these are the issues individuals keep in mind you for greater than successful belts,” he later added. “I stood for the youthful fighters.”

In fact, we’ve been right here earlier than. Keep in mind the MMAAA, the Combined Martial Arts Athletes Affiliation? With names like Cain Velasquez, Georges St. Pierre, Donald Cerrone, and others behind it, it went… completely nowhere.

In fact, the optics of that effort weren’t nice, what with Bjorn Rebney, a former promoter, concerned. However the level is, change in MMA has come at a glacial tempo. Jones is one man, and one man alone can not change the system.

Having stated that, nevertheless, it’s important to begin someplace.