Nine days ago, UFC president Dana White confirmed Alexander Gustafsson agreed to fight reigning light heavyweight king Jon Jones (pictured) at UFC 177.
The promotion plans on having the rematch go down on the extended Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The only minor problem is, not only has Jones not agreed to work on August 30, but the UFC has yet to iron out a contract extension with the most decorated 205-pound champ in MMA history.
Sure, White didn’t officially announce the tango. However, he clearly intended to put the heat on Jones to concede to his terms by throwing the who, what and when out there for public consumption. UFC.com even published an article about the sequel, which is a rarity for the website when both fighters haven’t signed bout agreements.
As of this past Saturday, Jones still hasn’t put pen to paper, and White is none too pleased.
“You gotta ask Jon Jones that,” White responded when questioned about the delay. “I don’t know. I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.”
Jones has been relatively quiet since the UFC announced/didn’t announce the rematch. However, he did allude to the drama last Friday via Twitter .
“Let’s make the distinction between bad business and bad press,” Jones wrote.
With endorsement deals with Nike and Gatorade in his back pocket, Jones is arguably the UFC’s most marketable fighter. The 26-year-old is only behind bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey as the promotion’s biggest mainstream star.
“Bones” and White are currently engaged in a staring contest, and neither wants to show they’re not in control by being the first to blink. Jones most certainly wants to see larger digits on his new contract, while White is reluctant to budge because he’s likely still bitter Jones forced him to cancel UFC 151 two years ago by declining a last-minute scrap with Chael Sonnen.
There’s just over 12 weeks remaining until the curtain is drawn on the proposed showtime. The clock is ticking, yet Jones isn’t even looking at his watch. Gustafsson sure is, though.
“Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, 4 days have past and still no signature from you on that piece of paper from the UFC,” Gustafsson wrote on his official Facebook page last Thursday. “As a Champ, accept my challenge. You have something that belongs to me and I want it.
“The fans are waiting, so come on now, stop delaying.”