Combat sports always has been and always will be the promotion business. No sports contest is as unpredictable as a fight. Two of the meanest, baddest dudes of all time could get together in the ring and have a 12-round (or 5-round) staring contest, just like two lackluster decision machines could go to war. The action could end in a second or feel like it drags for hours. That’s why it’s always important to be selling the narrative. Whatever might happen, it’s going to be cool.
In that aspect, perhaps Dana White can be forgiven that selling the sizzle doesn’t work half so well when it comes to re-imagining the past. Especially not in the internet age, when everyone has receipts. The UFC president decided to jump into the suddenly growing war of words between Jon Jones and Tyson Fury, an offshoot of Fury’s supposed candidacy as a potential Francis Ngannou opponent.
Things really kicked off with a recent Joe Rogan quote that Tyson Fury would stand no chance against Jones if the two men were locked in a room together. Fury took exception to the idea, eventually walking back claims that he could beat Jones in a fight to claims that he could beat Jones in the ring. For his part, Jones took the opportunity to try and make something of it.
Jon Jones calls for cage match with Tyson Fury
“Hey Tyson, it seem [sic] like Joe may have struck a nerve,” Jones wrote in a surprisingly still not deleted post on Twitter. “I’ll admit there’s no one touching you in that ring right now, but let’s not let that confuse you with what would happen if you stepped foot in my cage. If you ever want to put some of those questions you got going on to rest, give Dana a call. I’ll help you out.”
While the real chances of that ever happening are essentially zero, it’s worth noting that Fury has teased the idea that he’d fight in a cage before. Only, under an exceptionally limited rule set.
“Let’s kick it up spicy, in a cage, four-ounce gloves under Queensbury [rules] and let’s have a badass referee like ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson,” Fury teased back in January, speaking on the idea of a bout with Francis Ngannou. “Did I just sell that to the world?”
Dana White throws some wild spin on Zuffa boxing
For those wondering about what’s essentially been an extensive preamble here, this is the point where we get to Dana White saying some aggressive promoter nonsense. Not to let Jon Jones’ callout go to waste, White addressed the feud in an interview with Bro Bible, where he did a little extra work to try and lure Fury into the Octagon—with a reminder of how well the UFC did getting Floyd Mayweather paid for his bout against Conor McGregor.
Let’s all let that sink in a moment.
“We can talk all we want,” White astutely noted, given that he was in an interview (transcript via MMA Junkie). “Tyson can talk, Jon Jones can talk, I can talk, we can all talk. Let’s do it. If Tyson is serious, and he wants to do it, listen, I got Floyd Mayweather to fight [Conor McGregor], and we paid Floyd. We got Floyd the number he wanted.
“If Tyson Fury is serious, and he wants to fight Jon Jones in the UFC, let’s start talking.”
Just to make sure we all know the context here, Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather came together with a plan to put together a boxing match, to which the UFC was pretty much unequivocally opposed when rumors of their talks first hit the press. After much wrangling and negotiation, the UFC agreed to let McGregor compete, if they could take home a sizeable chunk of his profits from the event.
To make all that nice and legal, the UFC branded themselves as a boxing promoter and got licensed in the state of Nevada. Despite the fact that that should have made McGregor’s contract legally dubious under the Ali Act, all parties went along with it, since litigation would be far more expensive than making huge piles of cash off a monster PPV. The UFC has never promoted or even been involved with another boxing fight before or since. They hitched their wagon to two of the biggest starts the combat sports world has ever seen, and got paid for being in the building.
Chances we see Jon Jones vs. Tyson Fury in the Octagon?
You know you can count on us for quick, consistent quality UFC coverage. Bloody Elbow is an independent, reader supported publication. Please subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with our best work and learn how you can support the site.
Join the new Bloody Elbow
Subscribe to our Substack!
About the author