Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal and More-UFC Analyst Ariel Helwani on Fighters Who Didn’t Fight in Pandemic

Published 04/02/2021, 9:45 AM EDT


The pandemic which struck the world last year didn’t spare any organization, not even the UFC. There were losses all around for the promotion and big names like Jon Jones and Conor McGregor didn’t fight at all during the pandemic.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

It was a tough period for UFC as they were accustomed to sold-out arenas and a massive number of pay-per-view buys. However, as buys (due to the absence of some of the biggest names) took a hit and gate revenue stopped, they still had to pay the fighters their salaries.

Why Jon Jones and others weren’t fighting?

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

On an episode of Ariel & The Bad Guy, UFC analysts Ariel Helwani and Chael Sonnen briefly discussed how the big names denied fighting during the pandemic. Helwani further commented on the likes of Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal demanding heavy paychecks to fight.

Helwani said to Sonnen, “You know how last year you had a situation where you had guys like Jorge Masvidal and Jon Jones openly complaining about pay. You had a situation where Conor McGregor, you know, only fought, what like he fought at the very beginning of the year, but not during the pandemic. You had a situation where Nathan Diaz didn’t fight during the pandemic, you know some of the biggest names of the sport, Jon Jones didn’t fight in the pandemic.”

According to the analyst, it wasn’t necessary to break the bank as the UFC didn’t have to sell tickets and could confirm cards even a week before the event, as fans could rush to ESPN+ to buy it. However, 2021 is different as the UFC would rely on the big names’ star power to fill out arenas.

The curious case of ‘Bones’ Jones

Jones had his eyes set on the heavyweight title after conquering the light heavyweight division. He relinquished his belt to focus on his big dream of switching to the heavyweight division, and he was working hard to present his case. Dana White had already clarified that ‘Bones’ Jones would face the winner of Ngannou and Miocic’s fight.

Following UFC 260, as fans expected ‘Bones’ to be booked against ‘The Predator’, the pay dispute between the former and the UFC took center stage.

However, as Jones officially left the 205 lbs division and put on muscle mass, it will be tough to claim that he wasn’t serious about his heavyweight bow. Hence, a certain spectrum of the MMA universe feels Dana White should capitalize on a hungry Jones and book this huge fight.

In a heated argument, Helwani said, “Okay, then why did he vacate his title (Jones)? He knew he was fighting either Stipe or Francis…You know what I would have done If I was the president of UFC? I would have sat at that table on Saturday and said guess what everyone I have the biggest fight in the history of the promotion at my fingertips.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Helwani believes UFC is wasting their chances of not having Ngannou and Jones fight each other as this could be a multi-million dollar fight.

While Jones’ saga is taking twists and turns every day, it doesn’t change the fact that every UFC loyal fan wants the bout.

Jones is one of the greatest ever to embrace the sport, and Ngannou is unarguably the hardest striker ever. The fight between the two behemoths is something that shouldn’t end just within the thought process. And given that fans are making their way back to the arenas, the UFC could look to break the bank to get Jones back into the cage.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Akshyay Srichandan Mahapatra

110 articles

Akshyay Mahapatra is a UFC author for EssentiallySports. He wished to combine his passion for the UFC (that he has been following since 2008) as well as his love for writing. This motivated him to enter the world of combat sports journalism.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT