There hasn’t been a whole lot to be optimistic about regarding the relationship between Jon Jones and Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) over the past year. Jones went from being the consensus G.O.A.T. and indestructible Light Heavyweight champion to out in the wilderness pretty quick, all after a call out of Francis Ngannou turned into a very public and very ugly battle with Dana White over pay.
Jones walked away from 205-pound title and started formulating plans for a UFC Heavyweight run. But, nearly every interaction with his promotion ended in a fight. White would say something inflammatory during a press conference. Jones would tweet-and-delete angrily for a night. Rinse and repeat for an entire year. Now, here we are, no closer to a Jones comeback than we were this time in 2020, and finally there’s a new element added to the mix that might move things forward.
“Bones” has gone ahead and brought on former Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer as his “advisor.”
“I am excited to embark on this next chapter of my career as I continue to cement my place in history as one of the greats with Richard as my advisor,” Jones wrote in a statement on social media. “I can’t wait to give my fans and the sport the fights they want to see.”
The big question is whether Schaefer will be able to negotiate with UFC as effectively as he has with everyone in the world of boxing. It’s a very different universe, MMA, where success or failure often hangs on White’s willingness to take calls.
Fortunately, the company president sounds down with Jones’ new guy.
“I like Richard, I’ve known Richard for a long time and obviously, he built Golden Boy,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “He built that company. He knows what he’s doing, he’s a smart guy. I like and respect him and if we can get something done we will.”
Who knows, maybe Schaefer and White will yuck it up over Golden Boy Promotion’s Oscar De La Hoya, who sued Schaefer back in 2015 for allegedly being a bit too chummy with other boxing promoters rather than working in Golden Boy’s best interests. Schaefer denied the charge and settled the case.
White has a pretty intense hatred of De La Hoya, and we’re sure this isn’t the only time he’ll name Schaefer as the real power behind Golden Boy’s golden days as a boxing promotion. Will that hatred get Jones the $30 million payout White insists “Bones” is after?
No way; however, being “liked and respected” by White go a long way in this business.
“UFC, being a publicly traded company now, they want to put together the biggest fights,” Schaefer said to Yahoo Sports. “They’re not going to make any money if Jon Jones is sitting around. They want to find a way to structure a deal and the same is true of Jon. He wants to fight. Jon is the kind of guy, and I like that, he’ll fight anyone. He likes to challenge himself.
“On top of that, I’ve always had a good relationship with Dana. You know that. We sort of like the same people in boxing and we hate the same people in boxing. Besides that, we’ve always respected each other. It’s just a matter of sitting down with Dana, which I will do, and find a way to structure a deal which nobody will be happy with but everybody can live with.”