(Image from bloodyelbow.com)
One of the big talking points throughout the history of the UFC has often been within the pay gap between fighters, with many suggesting and even often showing that payments were much lower than what many had expected and in the early days in particular fighters may have been walking away with just a few thousand in the bank after paying for the training camp and all the build up to the fighter. With Ngannou becoming triumphant over Miocic and fans hoping the next fight in heavyweight will be between Ngannou and Jones, the big focus now has turned to Jones and his twitter campaign stating that he won’t be willing to fight unless he’s paid well enough to do so, but is this becoming the future of combat sports?
It’s no surprise to see money come up as a talking point – it’s a big factor in many decisions whether its from the game you’re playing for a sweet bonanza bonus or you’re fighting for a world championship – and many fighters have been a little more spoiled, seeing big names like McGregor walk away with the huge numbers from not only boxing but the UFC too has inspired many others to start seeking more. The current approach taken is that a set rate is offered, the fighters currently holding the belt can also secure some PPV numbers too as the headline fighter which encourages those, but we’ve also seen more money fights than before as these same fighters jump between weight classes suggesting there may be some incentive to do the same there too.
It’s a complex situation, in some regards fans may understand why Jones feels the need to argue his case stating that he feels between eight to ten million may be too low a prize after being on top for so long, and particularly other combat sports such as boxing where the prize is much higher – the latest in the story is also that Ngannou has sided with Jones by saying that a mega fight everyone would like to have mega pay – but given it has become a reoccurring issue in the sport it certainly won’t be a one off argument that goes away even if Jones is able to secure the payday he’s looking for.
Either way, fans are going to be excited for this fight if it is able to go ahead, some questions around Ngannou that were partially answered in his previous fighter will be given for sure, and it could also lead to Jones being tested in a way that he hasn’t experienced either as the move up to heavyweight is a very different experience all together – negotiations are still ongoing and an answer will surely be found sooner rather than later, but with Derrick Lewis already stating that he’s ready to step up to the plate too, the next heavyweight title fight could look very different than some fans had anticipated, and could be a rematch with new confidence and new excitement.