Upset at his pay, Jon Jones says he is giving up UFC light-heavyweight title

UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon (Bones) Jones, embroiled in a pay dispute with the UFC, told his 2.3 million Twitter followers Sunday that he is giving up his title.

"To the light-heavyweight title — veni, vidi, vici," tweeted Jones, using the Latin phrase of "I came, I saw, I conquered," attributed to Julius Caesar.

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Asked if was giving up his title, he tweeted "Yes."

When a follower suggested he was hurting himself more than the UFC, Jones replied: "I hurt myself every time I walk out there and take a punch to the head and not feel my pay is worth it anymore."

The 32-year-old Jones, who sits at No. 1 in the UFC's pound-for-pound fighter ratings, has used social media in recent days to wage a war of words with the UFC over his pay.

He had been eyeing a super-fight with hard-punching Francis Ngannou, currently ranked second among heavyweight contenders, but said the UFC did not want to pay him enough.

Asked about Jones' social media complaints, UFC president Dana White said the fighter wanted "crazy" money, citing demands of US$15 million, $20 million and $30 million.

"He can do whatever he wants to do. He can sit out, he can fight, he can whatever," White told reporters after Saturday's Fight Night card in Las Vegas.

"Jon Jones can say whatever he wants publicly. It's his God-given right here in America," he added. "He can say whatever he wants. And when he's ready to come back and fight, he can."

White said his lawyer, Hunter Campbell, offered to walk Jones through the numbers but to no avail.

That drew a sarcastic Twitter response from Jones.

"I love how you're trying to paint this picture of me being some angry guy disrespectfully demanding money. And then bringing up my out of the cage affairs to justify underpaying me by tens of millions for years."

"At no point did I ever demand anything from you Dana, I simply asked for a super fight and asked to be compensated for it," he said in another tweet.

While seen as perhaps the greatest MMA fighter ever, Jones has been in the news for the wrong reasons more often than not since he was involved in a hit-and-run accident with a pregnant woman and stripped of his title in 2015.

Jones has defended the 205-pound title 11 times and been stripped of the championship belt twice, once for violating the UFC's athlete code of conduct (in 2015) and once for failing a drug test (in 2017). He also lost the interim title in 2016 after a positive drug test.

Jones holds a 26-1-0 record with one-no contest.

The loss came via disqualification in 2009 for an illegal elbow against Matt (The Hammer) Hamill, who was being savaged prior to the stoppage. A 2017 win over Daniel Cormier was turned into a no contest after Jones testing positive for steroids.

White said Jones could have been "the LeBron" of MMA, had it not been for his antics outside the cage.

The UFC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2020.

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