Former Jackson-Winkeljohn Academy striking coach Frank Lester went on a lengthy Instagram rant this week, accusing light heavyweight Jon Jones of ripping him off. “Bones” immediately denied the claims, and fired back with a threat to have the Albuquerque Police Department involved.
On Tuesday, Lester spoke with MMA Fighting, baring more details of his side of the story. According to him, it was Jones who came forward after UFC 235, bearing an offer to make him a “secondary kickboxing coach” to Mike Winkeljohn for UFC 239.
“He’s like, ‘Hey man, I just want to say thank you so much for your work in this last camp,” he recalled. “‘I truly believe you were the missing link to what we needed.’
“He’s like, ‘What do you think about that? And I said, I think that sounds great,’” Lester said. “And he said, ‘This time, I’m going to give you a full coach’s pay, and all my coaches make between 20 and 25 grand.
“He shook my hand, he looked me in the eye, and he said, ‘How does that sound?’” he added. “I said, ‘That sounds f—ng great, Jon Jones. I really appreciate that, champ.’ And he goes, ‘Well, hell yeah, let’s get it.’”
Lester apparently spoke with Winkeljohn after UFC 239, which didn’t go as he intended it to.
“Out of nowhere, coach Wink goes, ‘Well, you can take the seven grand and shut the f—k up or you can leave,’ Lester said. “I said, ‘Well, I’m going to walk out the f—ng door because what you’re telling me is f—k my wife, f—k my two kids, and f—k me.”
Lester also went to disclose some of Jones’ practices during camp, which included a pre-training blunt.
“He likes to get in his vibe, you know what I’m saying? So before every practice, Jon likes to get all the coaches together and you know, listen to some Bob Marley and smoke a little blunt,” he said. “(Jackson Wink co-founder and head coach) Greg (Jackson) and (Winkeljohn) aren’t a part of that. But he likes to get in his vibe.
“We all get his jeep and we drive around, we smoke a blunt, and we get back in the gym. We start stretching out,” he continued. “We always pray in, and we always pray out. Sometimes Jon does it, and sometimes it’s like, ‘Hey, Frank, you do it this time, or Eric, you do it this time.’
“Either way, someone prays in and says, ‘Lord, thank you for our lives, and grant us a good training session and (give) the energy and the wisdom to give Jon the proper training he needs to win this next world title.’ And then we train. We train f—ng hard.”
As part of Jones’ team in preparation for Thiago Santos, Lester claimed he spent about 50 hours studying the Brazilian challenger and recreating what he’d seen for the next sparring sessions.
Ultimately, he felt he played a big role in Jones’ camp, but wasn’t treated fairly for it.
“I feel like I did my job as best as anybody could, and I was the perfect man for that job,” Lester said.
“(Jones) did everything he could to sh-t on me and my family.”
Lester also sent screenshots to MMA Fighting, showing conversations in the Team Jones chat group. The image below shows the exchange between Jones and Lester.
Below are supposed screenshots of Jones and other coaches claiming Lester was overpaid and “given the chance to build his own brand.”
Manager Abe Kawa corroborated Jones’ affirmation of never underpaying any coach, which pinned more blame on Lester.
“He’s never underpaid a coach before,” Kawa said. “Frank is the first one to say so, and Frank got fired, so that might be why.”
Lester says he is set to open up his very own Tank Mixed Martial Arts in the next six months, which he expects to rival Jackson-Wink in the coming years.