Jon Jones finally broke his silence since his much-publicized car crash in a candid one on one interview with Ariel Helwani, which was released on MMAFighting.com yesterday.
One of the consequences that Jones’ has had to face over the last year, and even more since the fallout in April, is the loss of his key sponsors. Shortly after his public brawl with Daniel Cormier, according to Jones, a representative from sports apparel giant Nike told him that the company “were moving away from its association with MMA”, which makes sense given that Reebok were gearing up to become the official brand of the UFC around that time.
It was no surprise when Jones, the pound for pound best fighter on the UFC’s books at the time, was one of the few fighters that were made official brand ambassadors for Reebok when their affiliation with UFC was announced. However, after UFC stripped ‘Bones’ of his title, his place in the rankings and suspended him from competition following his involvement in the infamous April felony hit and run, Reebok soon followed suit and terminated their contract with Jones.
Interestingly, Helwani’s feature begins with Jones speaking to group of kids in an Albuquerque high school and one of the main methods he used to describe his status in the sport before his suspension was outlining his main sponsors, which made his life “amazing.”
“I became the first (UFC) fighter sponsored by Nike,” explained Jones to sports hall full of attentive school-goers at the beginning of Helwani’s feature. “I was sponsored by Gatorade, EA Sports, Reebok. My life was amazing, it was absolutely amazing.”
When Helwani asked Jones whether he would be endeavoring to reclaim his old sponsors through his return to the sport, which the former champion believes will happen in April, Jones claimed that he believed “there are better companies out there” for him.
“Not necessarily,” said Jones when Helwani asked would he be aiming at getting his old sponsors back. “It was a huge part of my income. My goal is to do things better, just do things better. I believe my best is yet to come in business, in my career, as a husband, as a father–I think my best is yet to come.
“I honestly feel like things are going to better now than they were before because of my outlook on life and some of the things I’ve been through. I really believe things are going to be better than they were before so if I don’t get back to working with the companies that I was with in the past, I believe that there are better companies out there for me. I ain’t got nothing but time to prove this to be true.”
Helwani also asked Jones about undefeated, multiple times world champion Floyd Mayweather’s interest in him becoming an ambassador from his brand, ‘The Money Team.’ Jones’ reply suggested that a deal might be struck up between the two as he said, “you may see me in some Money Team gear.”
“Hey, who knows man? Maybe Floyd realizes that I’m a controversial subject, kind of like him. A lot of people love him, a lot of people hate him, but a lot of people tune in for his fights and maybe he realizes that about me and relates to that in me.
“I haven’t (talked to him yet), but my business partners have already reached out to him and you may see me in some Money Team gear. I’m not saying I’m joining ‘The Money Team’, but it’s definitely a possibility, I’m not opposed to it. Floyd’s career has been tremendous.”
And that isn’t the first time we’ve heard Jones speak of his high regard for ‘Money’ Mayweather. Despite the retired boxing champion’s reoccurring back and forth with UFC president Dana White and former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, Jones has spoke in the past about how Mayweather’s financial situation “encourages” him.
“It’s great to see a champion show his heart and his winning ways. It’s great to see a champion get what he deserves. That really, really encourages me. (Mayweather’s payday is) ridiculous, in a good way,” Jones said in the lead up to UFC 165 according to Bloody Elbow.
“Boxing has been around over 100 years. The foundation is set and the money is there. MMA is so new. You can’t just expect to be paid, if we’re going to be paid $40 million, what is the UFC going to make? Floyd is his own production. We’re a fairly new sport. I’m grateful for the money I make. As a 26-year-old I could never imagine being in this position.
“I don’t think money is the key to life or happiness. Would it be nice? It would be great to be paid the way other athletes will be paid. Doing my part, paydays closer to that, hopefully, I’ll be the guy to get us there through hard work, longevity.”
Should Jones sign on the dotted line with ‘The Money Team’ it should shake up his return to action even more on the back of his controversy-fueled 2015.
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