Jon Jones tries to repair Dana White rift by hiring former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer as UFC prepares to announce Francis Ngannou vs Derrick Lewis
Jon Jones has confirmed he has joined forces with former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer in the hopes of ending his stalemate with the UFC.
The former light-heavyweight champion vacated his belt in the summer of 2020 in the hope of pursuing a second world title up at heavyweight.
However, conflicting reports from both sides of the negotiating table suggest the conversations were not amicable, with ‘Bones’ remaining sidelined since March 2020.
With Francis Ngannou set to defend his belt for the first time against Derrick Lewis in a rematch of their 2018 affair, it leaves the 33-year-old in a state of purgatory as he continues to push his body towards a natural heavyweight frame.
While he continues to strive for physical excellence, the questions regarding his mental state as he remains frozen out by the company remain – yet the pound-for-pound great is at least trying to remedy the situation by hiring Schaefer as his new advisor.
The Swiss banker made his name with UBS, before giving up finance to work alongside Oscar De La Hoya with Golden Boy. In 2014, he left the company and started Ringstar Sports before announcing the World Boxing Super Series in 2017.
His move into MMA may come as a surprise, but it is certainly a welcome relief hoping to see Jones back in the Octagon before too long.
“I am excited to embark on this next chapter of my career as I continue to cement my place in history as one of the greats with Richard as my advisor,” Jones wrote in a statement on social media.
“I can’t wait to give my fans and the sport the fights they want to see.”
Dana White has previously voiced his displeasure at De La Hoya (to put it politely) yet the relationship he has accrued with Schaefer is certainly positive.
“I like Richard, I’ve known Richard for a long time and obviously, he built Golden Boy,” White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. “He built that company. He knows what he’s doing, he’s a smart guy.
“I like and respect him and if we can get something done we will.”
With Ngannou and Lewis set to fight, Jones is continuing to graft in silence to bulk up and challenge the winner of the heavyweight title fight.
And while he focuses on sharpening his tools, Schaefer will do all he can to guarantee his new client gets the best fights for the right money.
“The UFC, being a publicly traded company now, they want to put together the biggest fights,” Schaefer said to Yahoo Sports. “They’re not going to make any money if Jon Jones is sitting around.
“They want to find a way to structure a deal and the same is true of Jon. He wants to fight. Jon is the kind of guy, and I like that, he’ll fight anyone. He likes to challenge himself.
“On top of that, I’ve always had a good relationship with Dana. You know that. We sort of like the same people in boxing and we hate the same people in boxing. Besides that, we’ve always respected each other.
“It’s just a matter of sitting down with Dana, which I will do, and find a way to structure a deal which nobody will be happy with but everybody can live with.”