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UFC can’t ignore the public relations nightmare with Jon Jones any longer

By Zach Arnold | April 15, 2014

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Jon Jones trended #1 on Twitter during MLB’s Jackie Robinson day for the wrong reasons

The ever-pressing conundrum in sports: the guy that has all the talent in the world and great sporting judgment but lacking in complete self-awareness outside the sporting venue. What do you do?

As a promoter, Jon Jones is a dream athlete. Unstoppable. But getting in a DUI accident with babes, being evasive when it comes to wanting to fight opponents, and quicksanding yourself with stupid comments is a good way to build an artificial glass ceiling that prevents you from becoming a mainstream sports draw.

As you would expect, and rightfully so, there was panic. Bloody Elbow took note of both denials from Jon Jones & his representative Malki Kawa in regards to responsibility of such comments being made on Instagram. He lost his phone. Minutes after the questionable remarks online were made, a photograph of Jones was published online.

Lots of people do stupid things. But my first thought when I heard the possibility of his phone getting lost was…

The timing is always unacceptable to make homophobic remarks, but juxtapose this dust-up on Tuesday with this note from writer Marc Raimondi:

The always resourceful David Bixenspan notes this past incident.

In the fight business, the speech police generally don’t get results. Look at all the past remarks of Bernard Hopkins and people gush over him more than ever. Look at the legion of Nick Diaz fans. However, that’s not to say that there isn’t an impact being made when Jon Jones displays questionable judgment. The impact is that the UFC may label him as unreliable in terms of giving a full marketing push when his in-cage talent is 100% deserving of a major ad campaign. We’re days away from his fight with Glover Teixeira and all people seem to talk about with Jon Jones is what mistake he’s making next.

A lost phone. A cat that was on the loose. A missing UFC Fight Pass subscription. Waffling on desire for random drug testing for all opponents. And a whole lot of missing common sense. As with all athletes who have access to social media, their weaknesses get exposed in a hurry.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 30 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

30 Responses to “UFC can’t ignore the public relations nightmare with Jon Jones any longer”

  1. Chris Uzmaki says:

    Curious as to what the UFC options are now they got a legit world class talent who just can’t seem to not shoot himself in the leg… Do you focus promotion on another talent do you minimize his legitimty?

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    I buy Jon Jones PPV’s because he is a real talent to watch. He is also a mental midget outside of the octagon.

    1) He is constantly talking down potential opponents, which actually hurts his ability to get good PPV Buys rates.

    2) He comes across as trying to be a matchmaker for the UFC, and it appears he tries to duck top challengers.

    3) He refused to fight a Middleweight on short notice and an entire event got cancelled because of it.

    4) Driving drunk.

    5) Homophobia. It is 2014, shouldn’t we be over this stuff?

    6) He comes across extremely fake in interviews.

    The guy is a mess. When he eventually loses the belt (and they all do at some point), I can easily see his life unraveling quickly. He wants to think of himself as an Ali, Jordan, or Mayweather. And talent wise he certainly is up there. The problem with that comparison is that all 3 of those guys were mentally mature. Jones is like a giant baby by comparison.

    Sad to see such a great athlete like that.

    • Diaz's cashed bowl says:

      He said if not for the ufc he would be in the military. You have to be brain less/programed, desperate and stupid to join that group of collection agency thugs. He’s just a typical american lump of over aggressive protein.

    • edub says:

      Mayweather isn’t much better.

    • Omar says:

      This one of the stupidest things I’ve read in a while. I’ll get to Zach’s idiocy later, but by typing this…you’re basically admitting to everyone that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

      1.) Yeah shit talking never helps sell buys. I mean Ronda basically said that she’d wipe her ass with Tate and that KILLED 168, same thing with Brock and Frank Mir and Silva/Sonnen.

      2.) What? You mean he thinks you ought to do more than beat Jimi Manuwa or Pat Cummings and Dan Henderson to earn a title shot? That jerk ass.

      3.) Yeah, he’s an elite athlete that’s prepared an entire camp for one guy and it got changed at the last minute. It’s not like this is a professional sport or anything, right? I mean this is A BRAWL, BRO!!!! A title fight replacement on eight days notice is VERY unprofessional.

      4.) No one ever does that right?

      5.) Well he supported Fallon Fox, and he’s always been pretty civil on social media before…so by all means lets just assume that he’s okay with the transgendered community but doesn’t like gays and all of the sudden decided to start following fans on social media. Makes perfect sense.

      6.) Translation: I don’t like him for whatever personal reason. Maybe it’s because he’s tall, rich, successful, black, beat all your favorite fighters, handsome, or good at his job…you just don’t like him.

      Ali, Jordan, Mayweather? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

      Ali? You mean the guy that draft dodger that changed his name? You want to talk about guys who talked down opponents, let me tell you about that guy, son.

      Jordan? Please. Gambling addict, marital infidelity out the ass, “retired” a year to play pro baseball (actually got suspended for gambling, but don’t tell anyone), and cut part of his finger off with a cigar cutter? That guy? The guy that was universally regarded as a massive prick by everyone that knew the guy?

      Mayweather? A man who has been in jail for beating women, allegedly had two men beaten half to death, allegedly dodged Pac for years, and constantly talks down his opponents?

      You don’t know what you are talking about, so please leave having an opinion for smart people.

      • Zach Arnold says:

        You just defeated your whole argument by yourself.

        Lumping Jon Jones in the same class as Mayweather, Jordan, or Ali is laughable. Jon Jones has all the talent in the world but he has not managed to connect with casual fans because people often get confused by the signals he gives off. One minute he cares, the next minute he doesn’t.

        I think fight fans want to feel one way or another about Jon Jones and yet he gives off a vibe that results in a lot of people saying, “okay, whatever,” and they shrug their shoulders despite his immense skills in the cage.

        Your points about hero worship with Jordan, Ali, and Mayweather given the things they’ve done in their personal lives is an indictment that Jones hasn’t made it as big as he should have. How much is his blame, how much is his rep’s blame, or how much the blame goes on UFC is up for debate.

        In a country where sports fans are big suckers for the next star to latch onto for building up and tearing down, Jon Jones has remarkably slotted himself in this strange category where he has amazing success in the cage but people have zero emotional attachment one way or the other about him. He exists, he fights, and then his name only comes up when something dumb happens. His fight with Glover Teixeira is days away and hardly anyone is talking about it.

        • Omar says:

          I’ll address this later, but my point about Ali, Jordan, and Mayweather is this. One, it\’s stupid to compare any mixed martial artist (at this point) to any mainstream athlete, especially one of those guys. People who do, don\’t watch mainstream sports. Allegedly Jones gets paid better than his brothers (combined), and by all means he seems to spend his money wisely…so at least he has that going for him. If you want to say those guys were mentally tough and Bones is a mental midget, you’re forgetting all the stupid things they did with their personal lives. If the worst thing Bones has done is follow some random dude around instagram calling him a fag or drive drunk, by pro-athlete standards he’s doing pretty well.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        1) He doesn’t smack talk to sell fights. He talks like nobody is worthy or at his level which does the opposite of selling fights. He makes casual fans think they are mismatches.

        2) Every contender he is trying to be a matchmaker for.

        • The Judge says:

          “He talks like nobody is worthy or at his level ”
          If he recently said this about Gustafsson I missed it.
          As far as everybody else, in the division, he said that Cormier needs to fight somebody worthy at lhw first and that Texeira hasn’t really been tested. He has wiped the mat with everybody else. You are flying off the handle here for something that is basically gospel in MMA circles.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        3) He was given an easy easy fight. And instead of taking it he was a scared kid about it and a lot of fighters had a hard time paying the bills. If a football team changes QB’s last minute does their opponents get to cancel the game? Nope.

        4) Are you even serious on this one? He is a bigot. That is never okay.

        • The Judge says:

          No. You are intentionally or accidentally distorting it. He said that at a week’s notice he should not give anybody a title shot.
          I think this is true. The contender has to be a deserving one, first, and a fighter has a right to fight prepared, second. It is precisely that he approaches the sport like that that is a sign of responsible, focused approach to life that flies in the face of what you are trying to portray him as.
          4–he has never acted this way in public, Twitter accounts get hacked all the time and even if he did do it, calling a troll “a fag” does not mean you hate gays.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        #4 above should be for #5.

        Look…. my opinion of the guy is not new or radical. Most people have this opinion of him. That is an awesome talent who is completely unlikable. You are flying off the handle here for something that is basically gospel in MMA circles.

        • Omar says:

          Everything you’ve said basically tells me that you have ZERO idea what you’re talking about. You’re bordering on openly senile here.

        • The Judge says:

          “You are flying off the handle here for something that is basically gospel in MMA circles.”
          I LOOOVE arguing through intimidation! Not only does no such gospel uniform opinion exists, the mere fact that other people agree with you, does not make it right.

          I bet those MMA insiders who, in fact, do not like him, have worthier reasons than fake-sounding Instagram comments.

          Yeah, he is engaged to his beautiful girlfriend of many years, whom he has been with since high school and with whom he is raising two children. All signs of an irresponsible man, whose life is falling apart.

  3. Chris says:


    This interview with Konan sums up the Jon Jones problem perfectly.

  4. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    Did they find that cat?
    “If” my savannah gets free out she comes right back in hours.
    Jones cat obviously left for a good reason, and I doubt it will ever return what with the JJ gay bashing making news.

  5. rst says:

    ” being evasive when it comes to wanting to fight opponents, …”

    Like belfort and Chael?
    he should have refused to fight them at all.
    I dont recall him ducking anybody else.
    (Or anybody reasonable enough that I paid attention to it.)

    As far as getting into it with the ghey fellow,
    thats wasn’t a nice thing for him to say.
    But some of these ghey fellas have refined and mastered a knack for instigating until they get the response they’re looking for.
    Jon is a young guy and probably hasn’t seen that victim bait game a million times before.

    Its twitter thats the menace IMO.

  6. david m says:

    Jon Jones punches people in the head for a living. What do you expect from him?

    Seriously, as odious as his comments on homosexuals are, who cares? UFC’s bigger problem with Jon Jones is how to make him a star. He has negative charisma; I don’t mean heel charisma, I mean negative. He has this uncanny ability to make you dislike him without hating him in the Floyd Mayweather way.

    • rst says:

      Does Jones really need to have charisma?
      I was thinking about that and remember Fedor the half robotic construction?
      Everybody loves Fedor.
      Remember Anderson Silva who vaguely speaks english but you’d never know because he’s refused to do it.
      Everybody loved Anderson, whether or not we know a dang thing about him.
      Fedor is almost Lindsey Lohan compared to big Nogs disinterested sleepy-eyed shuffle.
      Everybody loves big Nog.

      I dont even think its even a matter of Jon not having charisma. I’ve seen him do some clever word play in interviews and he can be quite gracious which many Brazilians seem to be practically incapable of.

      I think its more a matter of some people trying to find a reason to hate him.
      It could be that he speaks a little to clearly which doesn’t fit into some peoples preferred “ramapage jackson” image.
      It could be the Christian thing.

      I dont think its all that big of a deal wether he is a ghey people fan or not.
      I find the implication that I’m required to like somebody tyrannical and offensive.
      But he does need to keep that to himself in public.
      Its obviously not politically correct and there’s just no reason to try to offend or hurt people’s feelings for no reason.
      Maybe he thought he had a reason.
      But he has to realize that he’s got more to lose and cant just react emotionally.
      But that takes maturity.
      And you cant buy maturity off the shelf or inject it in your butt, it takes time.

  7. Zach Arnold says:

    I’m not surprised at Dana’s position here publicly, but one can only imagine what was said in private…

    • The Judge says:

      Yeah, “Change your effing password”. The homophobic comments don’t even all come together to create a convincing picture. A guy who is trying to proclaim the high Christian “Homosexuality is a sin” on one pic, saying “fag shit” on the next. This has all the benchmarks of “attempting to embarrass somebody with fake comments.

  8. Omar says:

    Okay, Zach, typically I’m a big fan but you of all people should know that this is a load of horseshit. The UFC doesn’t really like promoting Jon Jones? Why, well because he’s not a company man. If they want him to take a title fight on short notice? Nope, he’s not some dumb ass brawler like Chuck. This guy is a finely tuned professional athlete, if you want him to fight someone you have to give him time to prepare for that. He’s a professional. You’ve got a new Under Armour uniform sponsor? Yeah, well Jones has got Nike…he’ll stay with them. You’ve got Monster sponsoring your headphones and everyone wearing them to the cage? Jones has Beats…he’s cool with them. He’s not a company man.

    There’s a reason why Dana says stupid shit like “Renan Barao is the number one P4P fighter in the world” a week or so out from a Jonees fight, or “Ronda Rousey is the biggest star in the company.” They promote brand over fighter, and they don’t want any fighter to threaten the brand. Jon Jones, is the type of guy that can do that, if properly promoted.

    Second, you actually believe Jones did that? Everyone that’s been around the guy says that Jon Jones takes his image very seriously. He gets harassed on social media ALL THE TIME…just look at his @mentions on Twitter, yet all of the sudden he choses to follow around some random fan and hurl gay slurs at them in their comment sections? I mean, that’s not only highly out of character but if one had the followers that Jones does on Instagram, highly ineffective to call someone out. What else has he done on social media that would suggest that he’d do this? Serious question. Was his response shitty? Yeah, well no one on his team has clue one about PR. That’s obvious. The UFC doesn’t really want Jon Jones to be a big star anyways, so I’m guessing they’re quite okay with that.

    DUI? Yeah, it’s not like guys in their 20s ever get those. Especially professional athletes. I mean if anything Jones should be a leader like Jameis Winston, Kobe Bryant, Colin Kaepernick, or Ben Roethlisberger. ***wank motion*** Evasive of opponents? Yeah, by all means…lets let a guy that’s beaten one dude in the UFC that’s coming off a win have a title shot, and that’s IF DC beats Hendo…which he will. It took Sonnen two wins and two years to get a rematch with Silva, yeah there was some suspension stuff but still.

    So just because Jones is smart enough to realize that the UFC isn’t ready for a gay male fighter…homophobe. Do you think the UFC is ready for a gay male fighter? The company that pioneered “Just Bleed,” shitty Nu-Metal in promos, stand and bang, and all the other dumb shit that they do? Come on…yeah you’ll bitch about the Fight Pass thing. The dude makes the company millions and he can’t get a fight pass account? If anything, that just shows what a shit service fight pass is. Like we’ve never stolen UFC content via stream, illegal youtube video etc. Give me a break.

    No one’s talking about Jones/Glover? Gee, I dunno…maybe it’s because there were four cards in the past three weeks, two seasons of TUF going on, a retarded staged brawl on TUF, injuries out the ass on UFC 175, and generally an over saturation of UFC content. Or maybe it’s because the card is serious weak sauce. Or it could be because the promotion is total dogshit. Remember Jones’ best PPV, UFC 145? Well they promoted it like this:

    Hey, it’s almost like you’re promoting a real sport with real athletes! Not “GAR MONSTERS!!! BEASTS!!!!”

    • 45 Huddle says:

      So are the New York Yankees not professionals when there opponents in the World Series change up their pitcher due to an injury and still play the game? If he is a true professional, then he would take the fight because he is in shape and ready to go.


      Jon Jones can’t threaten any brand. Nobody likes him.


      The UFC doesn’t want Jon Jones to be a big star? You realize that the UFC is grasping at straws to turn anybody into a big draw right now, right? If they could wave a magic wand and makes Jones a star tomorrow they would.


      I don’t care who else got a DUI. It is a stupid thing to do and it adds to the list of idiot things Jones does.


      The UFC has already had a gay female fighter and nobody cared. Same would happen for the men.


      It isn’t often that people come on here, post a ton, and come off as illogical so quickly. You have done fantastic on that front.

    • Bad News Allen says:

      You seem upset lol

  9. Omar says:

    Now keep in mind I’ve sat through various conspiracy theories from Zach, and found most of them to be plausible. I’m not one of those dudes that defends the UFC at all costs, and therefore hates Zach. But, he’s way off here. Him, of all people, should know that the UFC doesn’t want Jones to be a star.

  10. rst says:

    There’s also a bit of a dichotomy to the whole “charismatic” thing?
    Its like some people want Jones to be more gregarious and crack jokes and hang out, and then bloody stool goes on a TMZ-esque rampage when he says something they dont agree with.
    Well maybe everybody should leave him alone and just enjoy him doing his job well then.

    Who’s charismatic?
    Rampage jackson?
    He’s always saying stuff like fhag.
    You remember his little kerfufle on that movie set.
    And he was considered the most entertaining of charisma’s for many years there.

    Chael Sonnen?
    He’s a TRT cheat and felon who hurls insults.
    Is that charisma?

    I think its the general population that lacking Charisma,
    not just Jon Jones.

  11. Diaz's cashed bowl says:

    Jones is a company man who has no originality or real imagination like most young impressionable americans, its whatever for the money and security. In his case whatever is violence. When is the last time you saw ol Jones under that waterfall?

    you can’t deny he made those comments. If someone did steal his phone and hack it, why would they be only responding to some Swedes in a back to back exchange regarding Gus?
    And how did the hacker put up that photo of JJ responding to the Swedes by sticking his tongue out?

    Its all projection these days(I know you are but what am I?) When anyone is caught doing something wrong they claim ignorance, affluenza or just blame someone else who is not present to defend themselves. Or maybe just a shadowy reference to some anonymous bad guys will sway public opinion, like our government is so fond of doing.
    When Jones does something wrong his boss claims it was the bad guys, you know… the hackers.
    He also claimed that GSP was coming back and doing that rematch FOR SURE!

    Like the fascist politicians who run the america into the ground, Dana will lie about pretty much anything as long as it serves his purpose at the moment. Which is to provide the illusion of total control over his subjects.

    They always come out of these moral altercations with more money and power, even when proven to be in the wrong.

    I see Jones being paid for for a lifelock promo in the future. And maybe even sitting on a couch between al sharpton and pat robertson talking about fighting global warming.

  12. Jeff M. says:

    Jones needs to accept he’s a heel and just embrace it. It’s good for him b/c it’s good for business. And if it’s good for business, more likely than not it’ll be good for the sport. People will pay more money to see contenders chase him for the title if they see him as a jerk.

    • Diaz's cashed bowl says:

      More projection/laser beam examples as Dana blasts the media for vitor’s sudden absence.
      “You did this,” he says. “You guys did this.”
      “You guys were just interested in him getting his ass kicked and getting him out of there. Like I say all the time, the media got what they want, Vitor’s gone.”

      And frequent flip flopping hypocritical hyperbole like this…. “You should fight as much as you can, get as popular as you can and get as much money as you can.” indicates that Dana just doesn’t want you to cash that check his mouth wrote.

      He low balls them and blames the Diaz’s for not picking up the phone after being insulted by the amount of money offered.
      gsp made 9 million last year for 2 fights, you could get 2 Nick diaz fights for 1 million and maybe buy the guy a house because he says he doesn’t know how to.

      He says the Diaz’s will be a sad story in the future.

      Well Diaz’s can only ask for what they think is fair. And when most of the other big names who were making 1/2 mil+ per fight are gone its completely ludicrous to consider NOT paying him that. He is one of the few pre 911 fighters fighting at a high level, and his popularity has never waned.

      Again Dana is to blame for whatever sadness he implies may occur in the latter part of the Diaz’s story.

      Nick already fought as much as he could, getting as popular as he could, now he’s at the “get as much money as you can” point in his career as narrated by Dana, yet he is stymied on this point by Dana.


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