I’m not going to say UFC light heavyweight king Jon Jones (pictured) blatantly lied when he stood before the Nevada Athletic Commission in September awaiting his punishment for brawling with Daniel Cormier in the MGM Grand lobby, but Jones certainly bent the truth in hopes of receiving a lighter fine from the NAC.
When the commission asked Jones what he thought his punishment should be, Jones said he assumed it would be financial. However, Jones decided to throw in his Nike sponsorship card to let the committee know his bank account had already taken a big hit because of the rumble.
“I’ve faced some punishment already,” Jones stated at the NAC hearing. “I’ve lost a very big endorsement of mine – one of my biggest.”
Jones later revealed, “It was Nike.”
Jones’ attorney, Ofir Ventura, told the commission that his client’s endorsement deal with Nike was worth over six-figures annually.
Jones was subsequently docked $50,000 and issued 40 hours of community service for his involvement in the melee. Cormier was fined $9,000 and ordered to do 20 hours of community service.
Both fighters were hit for 10 percent for their show money for Saturday’s UFC 182 bout.
Well, as it turns out, Jones and Nike had decided to part ways well before August’s brawl broke out.
“When I was in front of the commission, I definitely worded it wrong,” Jones revealed during Monday’s UFC 182 conference call. “Nike did not drop me because of that fight. And I kind of owe an apology to Nike for saying that they dropped me because of the fight. They actually didn’t.
“The truth of the matter is, I did not get dropped by Nike. It was a mutual thing, something we had discussed months before the actual fight. It was already official. Everybody at headquarters knew. My team knew that I wasn’t gonna do my third year with Nike. And then we got into the brawl.”
Despite signing the UFC’s most decorated light heavyweight champ to a three-year contract, Nike never pushed Jones like they had initially promised they would. So Jones said he asked out of his agreement with the world’s largest sports apparel company one year early.
“I said, ‘You know what, if you guys aren’t too serious about martial arts, then I don’t want to be a part of the company. Hopefully, I can respectfully leave,” Jones added.
Nike agreed and let Jones leave. Perhaps the Swoosh was privy to the fact the UFC was zeroing in on an endorsement deal with Reebok, which would render sponsoring Jones meaningless.
The UFC officially announced their exclusive six-year partnership with Reebok earlier this month. Jones signed his deal with Reebok two weeks later.
Financial terms of the agreement were not released.
“These guys are taking mixed martial arts very seriously,” Jones said of his newest sponsor. “They’re taking me very seriously as an athlete.”
Jones will be donning Reebok when he enters the cage Saturday against Cormier.