Jon Jones has long had a rocky relationship with UFC President (and now CEO) Dana White, resulting in several very public spats.
While most remember Jones and White sparring verbally over a potential fight with Francis Ngannou (ironically, the pair suddenly appeared on the same page after “The Predator” jumped ship for the PFL and boxing last year), in years prior, issues included Jones’ public foibles, and his refusal to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice.
Now, unsealed court documents as part of the ongoing antitrust case against the promotion show just how nasty things got behind the scenes.
A report from MMA Fighting cites a text message exchange between Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, then still an owner of Zuffa/UFC. “What’s up with Jones? Did he straighten up or is he still being a scumbag?” asks White in one text, circa 2014, when Jones was insisting on a fight with Daniel Cormier rather than a rematch with Alexander Gustafsson.
“Still a douche, but we’re inching closer,” Fertitta replied. “Haven’t moved on money, but sent the letter with an ultimatum.”
“Awesome,” White follows up. “F*ck that punk, Lorenzo. He needs to know we don’t need him, or he will f*ck us over more than he already does.”
Much of the distaste White had for Jones at the time stemmed from the cancellation of UFC 151. The card, unusually thin on paper by the standards of the day, was to have been headlined by Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson. With Henderson forced out last minute due to injury, Sonnen offered to step up, only for Jones to decline the fight.
As Jake Ellenberger vs Jay Hieron was the planned co-main event and far from a suitable Pay-Per-View headliner, the entire show was cancelled. White bemoaned the situation, calling UFC 151 “The event Jon Jones and [coach] Greg Jackson murdered.”
These days, White has been all about portraying Jon Jones as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.