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Innocent until proven guilty for Jon Jones, but will UFC have to suspend him?

By Zach Arnold | April 26, 2015

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Jon Jones is now reportedly a suspect in a hit-and-run incident involving a pregnant woman as the driver of the other vehicle.

It’s impossible to imagine having worse PR than supposedly leaving drug rehab 24 hours after entering into a program. Making the alleged hit-and-run incident even worse is that it’s one month away from a big fight in Las Vegas involving Rumble Johnson.

In New Mexico, a misdemeanor for hit-and-run occurs when:

66-7-201. Accidents involving death or personal injuries.

D. Any person failing to stop or comply with the requirements of Section 66-7-203 NMSA 1978 where the accident does not result in great bodily harm or death is guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Subsection A of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978.

E. The director shall revoke the license or permit to drive and any nonresident operating privilege of the person so convicted.

Jones has a DWI on his record, albeit in New York state.

It’s bad enough that Jon Jones has now found himself in new legal trouble. What’s just as curious to watch is how UFC will handle this situation. When Jones got busted for cocaine on a Nevada State Athletic Commission drug test, UFC made a strange decision with Fox Sports to go all-in and tout Jones for a one-on-one interview regarding his drug usage. It was a train wreck, but it certainly didn’t hurt his standing amongst UFC fans because the anticipation for his fight against Rumble Johnson has been very ripe.

Lots of fighters have been accused of doing awful things. However, allegedly being involved in a hit-and-run with a pregnant woman as the other driver is a total nightmare for all parties involved.

How does UFC react to this latest situation?

UFC has to weigh their options on what to do with Jon Jones. Nothing has seemingly changed his level of judgment when it comes to making good or bad decisions. He’s dodged a lot of bullets. At some point, he may not dodge a bullet and really find himself in a predicament that will permanently stain his reputation and UFC’s reputation. Jon Jones is currently one of UFC’s two aces (Ronda being the other).

What is the emergency plan UFC has in place if things continue to escalate?

Addendum: According to Marc Raimondi, the police report allegedly points to marijuana in a rental car:

Inside the man’s vehicle, a silver Buick SUV, police found a marijuana pipe with marijuana in it and “paperwork belonging to a Jonathan Jones, which had MMA information on it from the state of Nevada,” the report stated. There was also Enterprise rental car paperwork inside the vehicle. Several phone calls placed to Jones at the time were unsuccessful.

And now that the pregnant driver has reportedly suffered a broken arm, Jon Jones is facing a felony charge.

All of the North American sports press is either in Chicago for the NFL Draft or in Las Vegas for Mayweather-Pacquiao. The timing could not be worse for UFC in terms of being a sitting duck in dealing with the press swarm in the desert right now.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 64 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

64 Responses to “Innocent until proven guilty for Jon Jones, but will UFC have to suspend him?”

  1. Safari_Punch says:

    UFC will say they are investigating the incident to buy themselves time in order to have the fight on schedule. They want the real wreck in the ring. Rumble will obliterate him. Jones’ world is crumbling around him ala Tyson in Tokoyo againt Buster Douglas.

    Jones then gets suspended once his situation has been “properly investigated.”

    He goes into rehab.

    Makes his big comeback.

    Rebuilds his image and comes back as a hero like A-Rod *shudder*

    Beats Rumble.

    Sets up a trilogy perhaps.

    • Mike Lawrence says:

      The sad thing is jones is very likely to beat Rumble. This is just going to increase the pace of his self destruction all while making him an untouchable money maker for the UFC.

    • rst says:

      “Rumble will obliterate him.”

      Your series of events sounds about right IMO.

      If Jon is still behaving like this how can he be training like he’s supposed to.
      Let alone adding in the stress of more legal trouble.
      He’s so talented he could probably still pull out a W against some guys, but Rumble might not be that guy.

      But if he gets his axx kicked it will be for the best.
      If he thinks he can keep doing this without going through too much adversity for it then he’ll keep doing it.
      Thats just human nature.

    • Mark says:

      But Johnson has lost to less gifted fighters than Jones. Jones could half ass it and pull out a decision. He’s still got that crazy reach advantage that’s going to be hard for Johnson to get through to land a bomb. Buster Douglas was bigger than Mike Tyson, so if he wasn’t going to train he had no way of not getting the crap beat out of him.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    A lot of people think he is in hiding until whatever drug he was on is out of his system. It wouldn’t shock me if that is true.

    The UFC has enabled his behavior. They gave him a slap on the wrist when he got busted for cocaine.

    What happens to spoiled brats when they are enabled? Never good things.

  3. Mike Lawrence says:

    This is getting out of hand. Jones needs to be punished before he does some damage the sport won’t recover from. We are pretty much at that point now. No athlete should be promoted as greater than the sport but the UFC seems to not understand this and pushes its athletes like Rousey and Jones to an insane level. That’s a dangerous path when these athletes have serious personal problems and because of the pedestal they have been elevated to they cannot be punished just like everyone else with a fight contract.

  4. Tradition Rules says:

    “What is the emergency plan UFC has in place if things continue to escalate?”

    Well, if they are smart, just PLAN on changing/making the Bones/Rumble a title eliminator for the “vacant” title with Rumble vs another Light Heavyweight, just in case Jones is arrested.

    If I was Dana, whoever I’d contact to replace Jones, I’d give a bonus to motivate them to get in shape quick. If the planned Jones vs Johnson main event happens, promise whoever you tried to get as a replacement for Jones the next title shot.

    Not much of a plan, but that is immediately what comes to my mind,…but still better then no plan at all….

  5. David m says:

    There is no such thing as bad publicity in the fight game. Jones’ name is in the news, which will translate to more interest and a higher buy rate.

    • Tradition Rules says:

      I *PERSONALLY* don’t think publicity, like driving under the influence, hitting a pregnant woman, then running is *NOT* bad publicity,…for Jones OR the UFC.

      • rst says:

        Well, except for the drugs (just naturally dopey) didn’t Jackson plow through like 4-5 cars while being chased by the police before hitting a pregnant lady?
        He’s still pretty popular.

        • Tradition Rules says:

          First ting I though of too…

          But MMA was hot then, not so much now….

          I know it shouldn’t have made any difference then (and STILL don’t know why he got off so easy…), but also Jones has already smashed his Bentley into a tree (was that also a DUI? I cant recall), got busted for coke use, and now this…

        • Mark says:

          I think people had more sympathy for Jackson because his incident was more a mental disorder than being a dumb drug abuser like Jones. And because him having his picture painted on the side of the truck while he did it was pretty amusing in a gallows humor sort of way. Nothing darkly funny about Jones in a rental car smoking a bowl and running from the coppers. Although maybe the Diaz Bros can counsel him on how to smoke pot and not get into any trouble.

  6. rst says:

    And he did it on a Sunday too. He’s supposed to be in Church, not high on pot recklessly running down pregnant ladies.

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    Charges are now felony due to injuries of pregnant woman. Jones is in trouble. He needs to be stripped of the belt.

  8. rst says:

    People are saying slot Cormier in.
    Thats a good fight.

    Maybe actual jail time will get it through to Jon to drink his beer and smoke his pot at home on the couch.

    Although it would be interesting if he gets his liscence back very soon at all.
    Which would support my theory that the application of law is dictated not so much by safety or inherent justice but by how much money you have for lawyers and fines.

    • Mark says:

      This is his second strike, and it’s a much worse one than just testing positive for coke, so you have the strip him of the title and force him into rehab.

      • Chief says:

        This is his first strike – what you are claiming is his first strike was him doing something that wasn’t against the rules of the sport on his own time between fights.

        But that’s immaterial here. He should be (and thankfully was) stripped of the title. When you’re endangering others’ lives and running from police, how can you expect a company to have your back and want to promote you?

  9. Nepal says:

    I spent Sunday night catching up on 186. Watched the main card first, then the prelims, then the early prelims.

    In retrospect, I realized that I watched all the males fights fully, skimmed through all the girl fights and watched the first 1.5 rounds of the main event.

    I talked to a couple of my friends. It seems unanimous. Nobody is interested in watching women that are very low level fighters and no one is interested in watching 2 guys sprint for 5 rounds, hit each other some times and after 5 full rounds have unmarked faces. As great as DJ must be, he is dead assed boring. There is no way in the world I’m going to sit through one of his fights. Never, just not going to happen. If he could KO guys like maybe Dodson can do, I’d watch it but watching this choreography for 25 minutes is insane. Had I been to the show, I would have walked out in the middle of the 2nd round.

    I don’t know how long these light weight and women experiments will last but there is not enough talent and excitement for these divisions. I do watch Rousey fights because it is interesting that she finishes people, usually quickly and she is very talented. Beyond Rousey… meh! Honestly, I watched Felice vs. Paige only because they are hotties. That’s it, they are not great fighters but they are sexy, so cool, I watched the whole fight. It’s not PC to say that but I’ll bet I speak for virtually every guy that watches UFC. They want to see hot chicks or they will watch the very very few talented women fight.

    • Muscle Hamster says:

      You are right, noone is interested in watching fast, skilled fighters who can move out of the way of each others’ attacks.

  10. rst says:

    “I don’t know how long these light weight and women experiments will last…”

    Well, Mighty deserves more credit then he gets. But 125 is so light, he has to fight against Asians. So then they have to pretty much prop up an Asian weight class. He deserves more but the weight class just isn’t there.

    • Nepal says:

      Does he deserve more? Why? He doesn’t deserve more because Dana says he’s so great. He deserves more if more people want to watch him. He has great speed and I know he’s skilled at all areas of MMA but that’s not what I want to watch. It’s like a skilled Clay Guida, who fucken cares? Terrible terrible guy to watch. Terribly boring. Until they get a guy that can knock people out, like Dodson and can talk like McGregor, it’ll never work. DJ is the UFC’s worst enemy.

      • Tradition Rules says:

        Well, I will respectfully disagree.

        You are *NOT* wrong for wanting to see what you see,…but it seems like you are more interested in a “tough man” competition then a skilled MMA fighter in action,….and that is fine.

        But MMA is not going to be anything more then a fad for the casual fans. It’s a shame that so many casual fans will be like “eh, he’s too small” (especially when he can beat the ass of the average person who is so much larger then himself), so they do not think of him as “tough”, “skilled” or “a fighter”.

        I know I am the exception, But I love watching DJ fight.

        • Nepal says:

          Well, actually you really do not “respectfully” disagree. Saying that I am interested in tough man fights suggests not.

          It’s not the casual fans that think he’s too small, it’s the hard core fans. Obviously there are fans that enjoy him but I don’t know that many. Virtually all of my MMA hard core friends don’t enjoy watching him fight. We can all see, he’s fast, has great takedowns, has ring craft, has jitz and is clearly dominant. That’s all good but when you’re whirling around causing virtually no damage and rarely threatening to end the fight, it’s boring. If you watch Rory, Fedor, Jon Jones, Conner McG or Hendricks, Lawler, Diaz, and the list goes on and on. These guys are actively trying to end the fight. Even GSP, although he couldn’t finish a sandwich, he still went for subs, threw damaging kicks and punches and went for finishes, although he didn’t usually succeed, it looked like he was on the verge of ending it.

          DJ generally does little of that. No damage, little threatening, scurrying like crazy. I know he’s talented but I perfectly understand why the arena was half empty and the ticket prices were reduced. I think it’s more the hard cores tuning out, maybe to the casuals it looks like a very interesting event???

        • Nepal says:

          TR, nobody is arguing that what DJ has done isn’t impressive, it is. I, like most are bored by it.

          I will correct one comment I made before. I said, “I’d never watch a DJ fight”. I will indeed watch a DJ vs. Dodson fight. Dodson has the attributes I like in a fighter. Skilled in all areas and dance is not his greatest attribute.

      • rst says:

        Well after a berating, you might have a point.

        If he kicked axx in a more fantastical way, people would pay more attention.

        • Tradition Rules says:

          “Well, actually you really do not “respectfully” disagree. Saying that I am interested in tough man fights suggests not.”

          Nope, not at all.

          And I never said you were “only interested in tough man competition” , but that it SEEMED that you were,…I felt that that you would respond with more of a clarification (you did, later in your response), and that is was much less condescending then saying something like “clarify what you mean’. 🙂

          I would LOVE to see more finishes from ALL fighters.

          I just believe at the lighter weight classes, the fighters are in better over all condition. And, I believe more of the fighters (in all weight classes) that get decisions ARE trying to finish. I don’t think enough credit is given to the level of conditioning these athletes are in, and it is much harder to finish off opponents then people realize.

          An example: does anyone not think DJ tried to finish off Ali Bagautinov? He hit something like over 300 knees in the clinch in that fight…300! Even if those knees were not all full force (which they certainly appeared to be pretty hard), after 300, you have to be a pretty tough guy to withstand…

          An his KO of Joseph Benavidez in December 2013: everyone said he was gonna KO DJ and that there was no way DJ was gonna finish him, especially by KO, because Benavidez had never been knocked down and all his prior losses were by decision ( bot losses to Cruz and his prior loss to DJ).

          Same thing with John Moraga: prior to his armbar loss to DJ, his only prior loss was to John Dodson via decision. After that loss, Moraga won 7 straight fights (and before the first loss to Dodson, he was 6-0).

          So, the general point I’m making is that he is fighting really tough guys, and many people don’t see them that way “because they are small”,…and even if that were true, they should still be viewed “hard to beat”, even if “for the little guys”.

          But I do believe DJ is trying to do damage, such as vs Benavidez, Moraga…and yes, Horiguchi. He did make him tape at the last minute and WAS trying to do damage, Horiguchi was just in great condition.

  11. David m says:

    Did rape hurt Tyson’s ppv drawing potential? Did beating his wife hurt Mayweather’s? This will make Jones more famous. Enough with the morality police; the UFC is a company, which means their goal is profit. It isn’t their job to serve as the judiciary branch. For God’s sake, these are cage fighters, not humanitarians. Everyone watching knows they are violent sociopaths.

    • Zach Arnold says:

      I largely agree with your sentiments.

      Two things that will challenge the premise: 1) hit-and-run on pregnant woman; 2) writers covering fight scene now are not nearly as quiet & conservative on what is said vs. not said. Hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

      • David M says:

        Is hit and run worse than beating your wife in front of your children (as Floyd did), or raping a beauty queen (Tyson)? The Mayweather thing was only a few years ago; the media scene hasn’t changed so much in that time. Now if you want to proffer as a theory that the mma fanbase is more upper class and less accepting of criminal behavior outside of the ring, that could perhaps be a plausible argument, but I would still reject it. Rampage went on a ridiculous spree in his monster truck, and I believe he hit a pregnant woman, if memory serves. Nobody cares. Jones won’t go to jail, he will fight, and it will draw HUGE PPV numbers.

        • Mark says:

          And Jackson wasn’t suspended. He took time off, but the incident happened in July and he was back in December.

    • Mark says:

      Well, UFC is in a tricky situation different from boxing. Everybody knows lots of boxers are horrible people and boxing promoters aren’t much better. So knowing that you just appreciate their skills in the ring. But UFC had that reputation for 10 years and it nearly killed them. So they’ve got a knee jerk reaction to any negative press since they lived through having to explain over and over again “no, these human cockfighters aren’t psychotic ex-cons. They’re generally decent people.” After UFC has been around several more decades they won’t have that problem anymore, though. But the sports writers of the old guard still view them like it’s 1995 still.

    • Tradition Rules says:

      This is all true,.. but does that mean that excuses his actions? Or that he should not face ramifications for his actions,…from either the UFC or the law? Or disdain from the public and fans?

    • rst says:

      “…violent sociopaths.”

      I’d have to root against that.
      Thats not the sport that I care about.

  12. Zach Arnold says:

    Both Kevin Iole & Kenny Florian are calling for Jon Jones to be removed from UFC 187 and stripped of the Light Heavyweight title.

    And they’re doing this the week of Mayweather’s biggest fight ever.

    • David M says:

      I don’t think those two move the needle at all. How many people on the street could recognize either of those two guys? They have no gravitas and mean nothing in the larger scheme of things. Keith Olbermann, who is actually famous, called for Floyd’s fight to be boycotted, but nobody cares. Why? Because it doesn’t matter. We like our prize fighters to be scumballs, or at least it engages us and makes us more inclined to watch. Jones v Johnson will be Jones’ biggest PPV number ever.

      • Tradition Rules says:

        ” We like our prize fighters to be scumballs, or at least it engages us and makes us more inclined to watch.’

        Not me. I guess I’m above all that,…and I *don’t* consider myself above other people….just certain types of behavior.

        That might be fine, as a “pro-wrestling thing”, a heel vs face,….but even that has it’s limitations.

    • Mark says:

      To be fair, Zach, Floyd did serve prison time. Of course the Nevada commission was absolutely horrible in letting him fight one more time before he went to the pokey, and he got a good deal on his sentence since Nevada loves him. But Jones has yet to pay his debt to society, if he’s indeed guilty.

      I’m more for suspending him because this is his second strike with drugs than not wanting to allow the justice system to work before doing anything to him. He needs help, and letting him fight and make millions of dollars isn’t going to wake him up at all.

  13. rst says:

    Probably strip him.

    Fighting back towards the belt might teach him a lesson that things can be taken away.

  14. DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

    Well, rampage vs rumble should be good

  15. sweetviolenturge says:

    Would Dana & the Fertitta bros REALLY be ballsy enough to actually push to go through with the fight after this latest outrageous Jones incident? What are they going to do, hold his hand through the rest of camp & then hope that his crimes & exploits draw enough interest from “looky-loos” to earn some extra coin?
    Sort of an last cash in before he’s tied up in the criminal court system for who knows how long?

    The idea of them doing so is just ludicrous, especially seeing as how they have networks & big time sponsors to answer to now.
    I think the best, most responsible thing the brass could do is to immediately strip Jones of his title & find an opponent who’s willing to step in & meet “Rumble” for the vacant championship on 5/23. With the obvious choice being either DC or Ryan Bader who are both already in camp preparing for their own contest around two weeks later. So, as long as the UFC’s staff get’s on it -like- yesterday, they should be able to iron it all out & be able to announce their plans by the beginning of next week at the latest.

    As for Jon Jones? Fuck him.
    He’s already been afforded all the requisite second chances that young, rich, immature athletes are “entitled to”. And, he’s basically shit on them all, so now it’s time to quit protecting & enabling him by making him face the full weight of the criminal justice system.

    • Mark says:

      I think maybe if this was his first strike they’d let it go. But you can’t let a guy who got tons of press for failing a drug test for coke fight after having a hit & run. That’s just negative press on a massive scale. Especially when there’s sports writers looking to deflect the “why aren’t you calling Floyd out for his history of domestic violence?” backlash. It’s a perfect distraction. “Well, at least they’re not doing what UFC is doing with Jon Jones.”

  16. Tradition Rules says:

    Didn’t see this (or specifically, the video) posted anywhere here yet, but Sherdog has a link to a video report on the Jones situation:

    Jones lawyer sounds like an idiot: “he wants to get down to training for this big fight he got,… I know he obviously wouldn’t want to be dealing with this right now, John is a great guy…”

    I don’t expect him to say he’s a jerk, but the “I know he obviously wouldn’t want to be dealing with this right now” comment is just stupid and makes it seem like no remorse for the accident and the woman he hit.

  17. rst says:

    “The driver of the initial car that Jones is accused of hitting was a pregnant woman that suffered a fractured arm and wrist.”

    Okay so it wasn’t some sort of mangled arm, it was a fracture.

    Thats still dangerous though becasue I got one of those one time and it hurt like heck the next day. Like a white hot needle, I couldn’t even sleep for more then 20 minutes. That could be an awful burden to your health on top of being pregnant.

    I almost kind of wish Jon had at least done a couple of days, but he’s wealthy I’m not. I’m really hoping that he doesn’t just disregard this.

    I didn’t realize that he was 27.
    Thats not 19 anymore.

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    Enough facts are out there that the UFC needs to make the statement on the matter by now. The fact that they haven’t is pathetic.

    They obviously don’t want to cancel his fights, no matter how badly he screws up.

    It says a lot about the character of Dana White & Lorenzo Fertitta.

  19. Safari_Punch says:

    Well Jones did get stripped of the title. I think this really had to be done. Bones was blamed for a canceled event against Dan Henderson, given a mulligan with the cocaine news/leaving rehab right after he entered after the Cormier fight and now the latest incident with the hit and run…what choice did the UFC have but to strip him? I imagine a big part of taking the title from Jones has more to do with Rebook/FOX than the actual company who seem to lack any sort of moral compass.

    Anthony Johnson verses Cormier? I don’t know who to pick for this one. UFC brass have to hope Rumble wins this in convincing fashion to set up the eventual Jones fight — provided Jones can plea bargain and avoid jail.

    • rst says:

      On the contrary,
      They’d be happier with Cormier IMO.

      Rumble isn’t espn front cover material.

      • Safari_Punch says:

        I’m talking from the perspective of fans wanting to see Anthony Johnson face Jon Jones and not Cormier/Jones 2; which was a real lunch bag letdown.

        Both Cormier and Rumble are good stories. I don’t think the UFC cares about ESPN. They’re more interested in making money off a fighter who will be around for a bit and can put on some exciting fans for the fans, which Johnson looks more capable of doing when you consider their respective ages and recent track records.

    • Tradition Rules says:

      Well, I think they had to act and sooner was better then later. I read Jones could face u to 3 years in prison ( I *don’t* think he’ll get THAT though…) and because of how serious a headline that sounds, they felt the need to act, to BOTH strip him of the title and suspend him.

      It’s never a good time to do something stupid,but you would at least think he’d have enough brains to be on his best behavior right before a big (PPV Main Event) fight,…especially with a PPV having been cancelled (vs Dan Henderson, as you already pointed out) and his other issues.

  20. rst says:

    There is a certain insecurity about Jon.

    What drives him seek out drugs and self doping?

    We on the ground, might expect that being the best axx kicker in the world might be enough.

    • Tradition Rules says:

      I think he just is a young guy with too much (money, fame, etc.) too soon. Just like so many young celebrities (actors, athletes, musicians), they don”t have guidance, because they fell like they know more then they do (they’ve made it to the top already, they must know what they are doing,…right?)

      • rst says:

        I agree with you, he seems like he’s caught up in a euphoria of his own wealth and power.

        Its hard to really characterize that as a fault, everybody would do that.

        But he needs help, the same way everybody does.

  21. DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

    UFC should have went ahead with the fight, just treat him like a pariah with no prefight interviews etc… have him walk out in some plain black shorts free of any sponsor logos. Just bring him in to get the beating he deserves, you know?
    Concerned with doing jail time, JJ’s training camp for the fight might suffer, regardless he would take a beating from rumble loosing the belt in a brutal beatdown. And after a proper beating he goes to jail and is forgotten properly.

    • Jay B says:

      Except Jones wouldn’t have loss the fight, then what?

      • DIAZ'S PACKED BOWL says:

        While I highly doubt he would win, but if he did then he’s suspended and stripped of the title right then and there and sent packing on ppv! Or let him hold the belt until he’s going to be sentenced then strip and dump him.
        Talk about shamed…

        • Nepal says:

          All this crap is just business. A hit and run, a broken arm. Honestly, this is nothing compared to Merryweather. He’s been beating women for years and he just made $100M at minimum. You really think the UFC is going to worry about “doing the right thing”? They are a business as are the sponsors. Jon might even get a short jail stint but he’ll be back, welcomed with open arms and with more infamy and more publicity, his upcoming PPV’s will do even better, his sponsors will do even better. It’s nothing but a big win for the whole MMA community.

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