Former Golden Boy founder Richard Schaefer was unveiled as Jon Jones new advisor earlier this week, and he’s now been explaining how he will approach negotiations with the UFC over a potential superfight with current heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou.
“There’s this big fight out there, the fight against Francis Ngannou,” Schaefer told Din Thomas and RJ Clifford on the MMA Today show on Sirius XM. “That’s the fight everybody wants to see. That’s what fight fans want to see – not just UFC fans, fight fans period – and that’s really my task, is to see if there’s a way to get that fight done and represent Jon Jones the legend against UFC, to see if we can get it done.”
After Jones first announced his new association with Schaefer, Dana White welcomed the move and stated he had a good relationship with him, and now Schaefer has confirmed that feeling is mutual.
“Dana and me have a great relationship. We respect each other. We’ve known each other for a long time. And I think you saw that yesterday with his comments, as well,” Schaefer said. “I respect him; he respects me. I know the pay-per-view business as good as probably anyone; so does he. It’s really a matter of finding some common ground, so we will be meeting soon to see if we can structure a deal that everybody can live with.”
As for the exact details of their upcoming negotiations – Schaefer explains that his plan is to keep it all behind closed doors until the time is right.
“When you start negotiating fights in the media, and people are starting to dig in their heels and say, ‘Well, this is too much,’ and people who maybe even aren’t supposed to talk are throwing out crazy numbers, which didn’t even come from the athlete himself, and people are getting pissed off at each other, that’s not the way you get deals done. These (big fights) don’t get done through the media and Twitter and Instagram and things like that. They get done by professionals sitting down at the table talking about the different revenue streams and negotiating a deal. … That’s really the problem, because otherwise things get out of hand.”
“I’m gonna be meeting with them, we’re gonna sit down, and you’re not gonna hear from me a peep until such time when that peep is gonna be, ‘Guys, we have a fight,’” Schaefer continued. “Anything in between, like tweeting or messaging or talking, is just counterproductive, and I’m not gonna get caught up in that. That is exactly why I delivered the biggest fights there were in the last 15, 20 years in boxing.”
It sounds like a smart plan, though it remains to be seen if Jones will follow suit since he’s had a habit of consistently airing his views on the fight negotiations since Ngannou was crowned the champion back in March.
Despite that, after having spoke to him face-to-face, Schaefer appears excited to work with the former light-heavyweight champion and current No.1 pound-for-pound fighter on the official FUC rankings.
“When I sat down with him, I was really impressed how articulate he was, how well he came across, just his thought process and everything. I really felt this is the kind of guy I’d like to work with.”
And with his expertise, Schaefer is confident a deal can be struck, while also stating his belief that it’s better to get a blockbuster superfight like this done sooner rather than later.
“We’re gonna find out in the coming days and see what is done and what is not done. My philosophy going back into my boxing days: If you do have a mega-event (in front of you), I always try to get that mega-event done. Because if you allow for interim fights or other fights, you never know. A guy might lose, a guy might get injured. There just are so many question marks out there. My philosophy was always to deliver the biggest fights when they can get made.”