There’s been a long-standing conversation about how much Jon Jones should be paid to fight heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. That’s all far from being finalized, but what we do know is that $30 million is out of the question.
Former rival Daniel Cormier spoke about the Jones pay issue on his ESPN weekly show with Ariel Helwani on Tuesday. The ex-double champ does support the idea of granting “Bones” a handsome compensation, but to a certain extent.
“I think he does deserve a large number,” Cormier said. “I don’t believe… if Conor McGregor — and I don’t know what Conor makes. But I heard Conor makes, like, $15 million to show up. And then he gets all the pay-per-view.
“If Conor makes $15 million to show up, Jones shouldn’t make what Conor McGregor makes. If Conor McGregor makes something in that range, Jones shouldn’t make what Conor McGregor makes. It should be a tier beneath that.”
For Cormier, the ‘tier beneath’ is around the ballpark figure of what his close teammate was making as an active fighter.
“Does Jon Jones make what Khabib makes? If Khabib makes $8 million to $10 million, yes. But I don’t believe he should make what Conor McGregor makes.
“I do believe that Conor McGregor… there should be a difference in the pay scale because of what he has meant to the company. But in the $8 million to $10 million range? I think that works.
“I believe with 100% certainty, (the UFC) would give (Jones) $10 million to show up and fight Francis Ngannou. I believe that.
“And that’s him getting his money. Because he’s never made $10 million before to show. He said he makes $5 million, right? So if he makes $5 million, then you’re doubling what he makes to go and fight Francis.”
“DC” also understands the risk that Jon Jones brings to the table, given the past PED-related mishaps he’s been involved in.
“We fought on a number of occasions, and every time something happened after,” Cormier said of Jones. “What if something happens after? Now you’ve got a vacant heavyweight championship and you pay this guy all this money. And that’s the problem.
“And it’s hard for me to say that because of our history. But it’s like, UFC 214, him and I. He beat me. Take your belt, take your money, go home. But instead, there’s an issue. Now what? You’re just gonna put the belt back on Francis.”
According to UFC president Dana White, “the fight to make” for Ngannou’s first title defense is a rematch with Derrick Lewis.
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