UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones spoke up today about the UFC's public pressure tactics to get him to sign to rematch Alexander Gustafsson. The UFC had originally hoped to have the pair fight each other this August in a rematch of their spectacular title bout last fall.
The UFC announced the rematch before the champion had agreed to the fight or date. UFC president Dana White trashed Jones in public and helped lend a megaphone to Gustafsson's claims of cowardice from the title-holder.
Ultimately, Jones signed to fight Gustafsson again, but at the later date of September 27. Jones today told MMA Fighting that the UFC tried to bully him into signing for the rematch on their terms.
"I just kind of identified it with being a like strong-arm technique on their part, trying to get fans pushing for a fight and prematurely announcing a fight," he said.
Jones claimed that, when the UFC originally announced the August 30 rematch date, they hadn't even run the date by him prior. "It's not that I haven't signed a contract, I hadn't even heard that date before," he said.
"I thought it was unprofessional, I thought it was a bullying technique, bully style, I don't know what it was. But it is what it is."
Jones went on to say that his relationship with the UFC is "healthy," once again. And, in a move that surely delighted the UFC, Jones also said that he will involve his manager less in communication with the promotion.
"I think we are in a very healthy spot," Jones said.
"We actually talked about being in contact more often and things like that. Instead of going through my managers to talk about things, we'll have a more open line of communication. I'm really happy about that. I feel like we're in a very open and honest place right now."