UFC boss Dana White says light heavyweight champion Jon Jones “tarnished his own reputation” and “can do whatever he wants,” after the fighter threatened to quit the promotion over a bitter pay row.

White and Jones have exchanged barbs in recent days after talks for a ‘superfight’ between Jones and heavyweight powerhouse Francis Ngannou fell through almost immediately.

White has accused Jones of asking for an “absurd” amount of money for the bout – claiming he demanded a fee similar to what heavyweight boxer Deontay Wilder earned for his last bout, believed to be around $30 million.

Jones disputes that account and has lashed out at White for not valuing his services, threatening to quit a promotion in which he has established himself as among the all-time MMA greats.  

After a night of action at the UFC’s own Apex facility in Las Vegas on Saturday, White said he “couldn’t care less about the row” with Jones and accused the fighter of “tarnishing his own reputation” – a presumed reference to Jones’ series of run-ins with the law and doping scandals down the years.    

“I’m always looking at what Jon Jones could’ve been. He could have been the LeBron (James) of this sport. He could have been that big,” White said. 

“I tarnished you? You’ve done a very good job of tarnishing you.”Dana White had a strong reply to @JonnyBones’ latest comments about getting “Deontay Wilder” money. #UFCVegas | Full interview:

“The stuff that’s he been through, to show up and think he basically (wanted) $15 million, or $20 million, or $30 million, it’s crazy.

“He can do whatever he wants to do. He can sit out. He can fight. He can do whatever…”

“Being the greatest of all-time doesn’t mean you get $30 million.

“Jon Jones has done a lot of things to himself. In one of his tweets, he was saying I tarnished him. I tarnished you? You’ve done a very good job of tarnishing you. I haven’t done that.”

Jones soon fired back on Twitter, maintaining he had never requested the kind of sums White mentioned, and that the UFC president’s claims to have text message proof were essentially a lie. 

The reporter asked Dana to show the text messages instead he gives a 55 second response talking about why would I lie 🤷🏾‍♂️

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. You are the one who started talking negotiations publicly and showing the world how much you’ve been withholding from your athletes this whole time

Hunter and I had a very respectful conversation, 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 under paying me by tens of millions for years

Jones reiterated his request to be released from his contract, stating he could earn more from a switch to boxing or other pursuits. 

You’re talking all that big guy stuff about not caring, put your money where your mouth is and release me from that contract

I’d probably make more in my first boxing match than my next three UFC fights combined. There’s real estate, acting, just kicking it and being a dad. No one needs to put up with Dana‘s lies

With neither side taking a backwards step, it is a row that looks set to rumble on.