LEVERAGE- (n.) Positional advantage in a negotiation or business deal.
I'm amazed that Jon Jones walked away from UFC 151. From a business perspective, Jones' decision has both advantages and disadvantages. He gave up the fight, sure, but there will be other fights. Hell, he's still the employed champion--there has to be other fights. He gave up the support of most fans, but they will still pay to see him. The one thing he gave up that he will never get back, however, is leverage.
Dana White and company were absolutely desparate to salvage next weekend's UFC 151. So desparate, in fact, Chael Sonnen was momentarily fighting for the title. Now we all know Jones didn't want to do it. His reasoning: taking the fight was strategically disadvantageous.
But I ask myself: In losing preparation and stability... What could Jones have gained?
The first thing Jones gained was leverage. Having leverage in a negotiation is like holding the key to a door everyone wants to enter. With that key, Jones should have asked for a few things. The first is obvious. The others, a bit more interesting.
1) More money.
Why not? He certainly could have gotten a better percentage of PPV sales (for UFC 151 and all future events). I easily see Zuffa offering AT LEAST $100,000 or more for his services. Any one thinking the UFC wouldn't have coughed up six-figures to not lose MILLIONS is insane. We all know Zuffa is not, "penny-wise and pound-stupid."Extra compensation for going above and beyond is only fair. Besides... who's holding the key, right?
It seems Jones failed to see the impact his decision would have on his UFC sponsorship. If the UFC wasn't willing to cough up extra dough, why not ask for an extension on his sponsorship? Jones may already have a long-term iron-clad deal that didn't need sweetening. If his sponsorship is that good, the UFC seemed to think that with all the sponsorships and Bud Light commercials they gave him, the more leverage they'd get in return. How can a fighter so 'blessed' by Zuffa actually bite the hand that feeds? Because Zuffa didn't realize that by creating his star-power and him winning the title, they who longer held the key.
Hmmm... What else could Mr. Jones have asked for?
3) How about the cover of UFC Undisputed 4?
Surely GSP or JDS looks just fine now, right Lorenzo? Hell, Urijah Faber's available. ANYBODY BUT BONES.
4) FAVORS FOR FRIENDS
Why not ask that one or two of the struggling fighters in a gym get a slot on an undercard in the future? It might not financially benefit Jones, but it would help his friends and gym. It's also an amazing life-changing gesture for those fighters. Doing something that good will make you sleep better at night. Like Zuffa cares about another $6,000 to save a PPV? With this week's disaster, they'd be happy to oblige. Perhaps now, Jackson MMA fighters will find the UFC a little less receptive to their career ambitions.
Surely a huge sum donated to charity in his honor would boost his image among fans. Nike would love that.
Who knows what was offered and what was not. All we do know is that there is room for negotiation in EVERY business deal. If Jones was really committed to his decision NO MATTER WHAT, than he my be too nearsighted to make his own deals. Although he's not giving up his belt any time soon, he gave up something almost as precious: LEVERAGE.
Guess who's holding the key now?