Context: (For those that don’t know) Jon “Bones” Jones is a UFC fighter and was the youngest champion in UFC’s history, winning the promotion’s Light Heavyweight Championship in 2011, and has since remained undefeated…well…in the octagaon anyway
I’m not a fan clichés (it’s not like this blog is infested with them or anything) but they are what they are for a reason. “What goes around comes around” tends to hold more truth that most other phrases of it’s type, especially concerning the recent news of Jon Jones’ suspension.
Jon Jones’ has kind of become (in recent years anyway) the face of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His initial humble beginnings in the sport and All-American “good guy” persona really brought the crowd up behind him, and turned Jones in a bona fide sports superstar. As his title defences and resulting achievements grew, Jones appeared almost unstoppable, defeating his mirror image in Alexander Gustafsson (the only person to ever take Jones down) and incredible grappler in Daniel Cormier. Many thought that Jones truly was unstoppable, and he was recognised as THE best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
But, if the Superman VS. Batman trailer showed (and by “showed” I mean “forshadowed”) anything, it’s that nobody is invincible. Eventually, even gods bleed, and I think that coach Greg Jackson predicted that successfully. In January of this year, Jones was under the radar after testing positive for cocaine metabolites prior to his UFC 182 title defence. He was still allowed to compete, and successfully defended the belt in a wipeout win, which was supposed lead to his upcoming match with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. You’d have thought that his close brush with suspension would have acted more profoundly. But, Jones was identified as part of 3-way hit-and-run collision, hitting a pregnant woman’s car and breaking her arm in the process. He was seen fleeing the scene and only returning to his car to pick up “a handful of cash” and not checking on the people he’d hit. After finding a hash-pipe in his car (with weed still in it) Jones was arrested in Albuquerqe and released on bail, without any drugs charges being pressed.
Obviously, this is more than just being caught with a cheeky bit of Sniffy-Clyro. Jon Jones’ job is to kick the living shit out of the toughest men on this Earth, we can hardly expect him to behave like Steve Urkel. However, there’s a world of difference between drug use and a criminal act that could have been potentially fatal to those involved.
24 hours following the incident, Jonny Bones was stripped of the title that he’d held and fought to defend for nearly 4 years, as well as being suspended indefinitely from the UFC. Adding insult to injury, his Reebok sponsorship was revoked. Despite the undoubtedly shocking and sad time this is for both Jones and Mixed Martial Arts as a whole, I do think that the UFC has made the right decision in suspending it’s longest raining champion. UFC President Dana White stated earlier today that Jones had been given a lot of chances, an that this was his last. It serves as a caution to the rest of the UFC’s fighters, showing that the organisation isn’t as lenient as we all thought following them turning a blind-eye to Jones prior to UFC 182 (we all remember Nick Diaz’s suspension and how ridiculous that was).
On the flipside, this gives Jones time to sort himself out. He may have thought that he was bulletproof for the latter half of his championship reign, but wouldn’t you if you were an undefeated prize-fighter? I certainly would. I’d be like a coked-up Wookie, taking pot shots at street lamps. Jon Jones has a chance to get his head right, and it looks like he’s taking it. I certainly hope that Jon searches his soul thoroughly, and gets fighting again. Reebok may be gone, but he’ll be able to find at least one prominent sponsor when he comes back!