Jon Jones and the fine line between lessons and patterns
Of all the missteps Jon Jones has taken in his career -- including Sunday’s latest when he allegedly ran a red light in Albuquerque, caused a three-car accident, injured a pregnant woman, and fled the scene -- the fact that he supposedly came back to grab a fistful of cash from the abandoned rental car is the reddest of red flags. If true, that was a disarming look at Jones’ instincts. That was the glimpse at the sad place Jones, in his greatness, has ascended to. That is the sum of his experience.
Fleeing a mess that he is believed to have created, with zero regard for anybody but himself..
We won’t know everything until people start explaining, and when they do there’s a 50 percent chance of fog, but this goes right past Jones’ lesson in the deal and becomes a lesson for the UFC. In the past, like in January when Jones checked into rehab for a single night to deal with a drug issue, it’s always been about how he grows from it. This one can’t be chalked up to immaturity. It’s either a problem that hasn’t yet been fully admitted (or even acknowledged), or worse -- as in, this is just who Jones is. His fans can only hope it’s the former, because the humble preacher’s son from Endicott is a million miles in the rear-view mirror at this point.
Earlier in Jones’ career, back when he became the UFC’s youngest ever champion after beating Mauricio Rua at UFC 128, his coach Greg Jackson said the only man he worried about defeating Jones was Jones himself. Jackson has always been sage. In 2015, Jones can’t get out of his own way. This latest incident, though, demonstrates the kind of erratic behavior that leaves a lot of openings for speculation. If our actions define us, a hit-and-run in broad daylight -- with one quick stop to grab the loot before hopping a fence and vanishing -- is a bad character assessment. If he weren’t coming off of so many mistakes, maybe it could be regarded differently. But this was more in the realm of "what did Jones do this time?" This one was, "how long until Jones destroys himself completely?"
What the UFC should do is take his belt away.
That is a hard thing to imagine, given that Jones is one of the promotion’s biggest stars who had/has a big title defense coming up at UFC 187 against Anthony Johnson, but then again, who is calling the shots here? Drastic times call for drastic measures. If the UFC stands by Jones, it is enabling him at this point. That sheen of invincibility that he carries around is in part made of people turning the other cheek. The UFC stood by Jones through his 2012 DUI/crash in Binghamton, and his recent issue with cocaine, but this one is different. The word "felony" has an ominous ring to it. That sort of thing reflects poorly on the promotion. It also makes that promotion look like suckers if they just stand by. The last thing Jones needs right now is more "yes men."
And from the look of things, what Jones really needs is some help, or a dose or reality, or possibly both. Maybe he needs new friends and associates. Maybe the move to Albuquerque from his native New York was a bad one, and he needs to reevaluate things. Whatever it is, he could do without the title at this point in time. The right thing for the UFC to do would be to take that symbolic accessory and remind everyone that there is responsibility attached to it. That the belt is really just a decal of the UFC, that the UFC -- which has helped Jones make his millions, and is the avenue for millions more -- expects better professionalism from its tenants. Jones is playing charades with the code of conduct. The code of conduct is either a real thing, or it isn’t. It applies to everyone the same, or no one. It shouldn’t be interpretable for needle movers. It's not in place to prompt skirting or justification.
I hate moralizing. Especially in a sport where a little outlaw can go a long way. But this latest incident is more of a pattern than it is a lesson for the 27-year-old Jones. This time it’s a lesson for the UFC. And when Jones steps in the Octagon again, if he’s still carrying that belt, we’ll know what was taken from it.
Morning Report: Rashad Evans and Kenny Florian discuss penalties for Jon Jones, including stripping his UFC title
This time, something needs to be done about UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
That, being the general sentiment shared between UFC commentator Kenny Florian and former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
Jones allegedly ran a red light April 26, striking a car driven by a pregnant woman who suffered a broken arm. Jones is accused of fleeing the scene on foot. There was a marijuana pipe and marijuana found in the rental car Jones allegedly left behind.
A felony arrest warrant was issued Monday afternoon and Jones turned himself in to the Albuquerque Police Department Monday night. He was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injuries, but was later released on bail set at $2,500.
"I think cutting him from the UFC might be a little harsh," Florian said Monday on FOX Sports 1's America's Pregame. "I have a little bit of compassion. It seems like, if this is true, there's some kind of problem going on. He needs help and it needs to be legitimate help. It's not getting away for 24 hours. He needs to go out and get help.
"I think stripping [Jones] of the title is appropriate. Of course, if these allegations are true. I think cutting him may be a little harsh, but I would be for stripping him of the title and getting him to realize that there's repercussions."
Jones is due to defend his title to No. 1 contender Anthony Johnson May 23 at UFC 187, but Florian says he'd rather see the champion enter treatment, again.
"If this is true, I don't think he should be allowed to fight Anthony Johnson. He needs to go and get help. I think the UFC is probably, most likely looking to find a replacement for Jon Jones at this point. I think that's probably what's going to happen if these allegations are true."
Joining Florian Monday evening to co-host UFC Tonight, Evans echoed much of the same.
"First things first, you've got to hold Jones accountable," said Evans. "Jones needs to be accountable for this whole thing. He's a guy who's won eight title defenses, going on his ninth. What you do inside the cage doesn't necessarily translate to what you do outside the cage. His conduct outside the cage has been less than championship behavior.
"When you're doing stuff like running red lights, hitting people in a car and then running, fleeing on foot? You've got to be held accountable for that. I just wish he had someone to talk to him and reel him back in and say, 'Hey, buddy. You're blowing it.'"
Evans was a confidant and training partner to Jones during his rise to a title run, but left Greg Jackson's camp in 2011 when it was clear Albuquerque wasn't big enough for both of them.
"There's definitely something wrong here," said Evans. "Something's going on in his mind. You're four weeks out from the fight. The only thing that you should be worried about is training and getting ready for this fight. When you're going out trying to have a little party, it's not good. Something else is going on. Something is wrong.
"He does need to take some time away from the sport. Fighting is a privilege. It's not a right. When you start to forget that you're privileged by being able to compete, that's when you need to have a sitdown. That's when you take a break. That's when you need to have consequences that equal more than a slap on the wrist."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
The latest. Jon Jones has been released on bail after turning himself in to Albuquerque police.
Rumble. Anthony Johnson says he's willing to 'be like Vitor and wait a year' to fight Jon Jones.
Overwatch. The Nevada Athletic Commission says Jon Jones had passed his drug tests for out of competition testing ahead of UFC 187, but are keeping a close eye on his legal issues.
Fortunes changed for five. Dave Meltzer explains how Demetrious Johnson, Quinton Jackson, Michael Bisping, Thomas Almeida and Alexis Davis move forward following UFC 186.
Closed. UFC middleweight Mark Munoz has announced he's sold his Reign Training Center just weeks before his final fight.
Watcg The MMA Hour with John Dodson, Mark Munoz, Tim Means, John Makdessi, Marina Shafir, Marc Raimondi, Kevin Iole and Steve Hanoian.
Comments from the woman involved in the Jones incident and from the champ's lawyer.
Free Fight: Anthony Johnson vs. Alexander Gustafsson.
Even more Rashad.
Highlights from ONE Championship 26.
Nate Quarry vs. Jacob "The Snake" Beckmann (via Quarry)
Busy day for TTTHS.
UFC 186 - Inside the Guard: In-Depth look at Demetrious Johnson's Side Control
Submission Radio 26/4/15 Rafael Dos Anjos, Tim Kennedy, Brandon Halsey + UFC 186
Despite all the rumors you have been hearing, they dont stop me or keep me from being focused.. Staying on my... http://t.co/tjIOe1fZB9
— Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) April 27, 2015
Even more takes.
If it were me i'd come out and say,"if you thought you hated me before..."
— Chael Sonnen (@sonnench) April 28, 2015
If Jones out I would like to see @dc_mma vs@Anthony_Rumble in main event @ufc 187 @danawhite @lorenzofertitta pic.twitter.com/XhtjmFKAqG
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) April 27, 2015
Crazy to see all this stuff with #jonjones ! The dude never learns and I know because I lived with him 2 years #UFC187
— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) April 28, 2015
Jon Jones in a car accident? He always seemed very capable of staying inside the white lines. @KLV1063 @JoshCohen1063
— Din Thomas (@DinThomas) April 27, 2015
He's in love with the Coco and he's running from the popo.
— Josh Koscheck (@JoshKoscheck) April 27, 2015
If that crash would have had any negative effect on her pregnancy...I'm not 100% sure but he could have been looking at murder
— Will Brooks (@illwillbrooks86) April 27, 2015
Jon Jones have to know when he do dumb shit he makes all of @ufc looks bad. #notarolemodel
— THE BLACK BEAST (@Thebeast_ufc) April 27, 2015
UFC punishes their athletes more for what they say on Facebook and twitter then how they actually act in real life that's fucked up
— roland delorme (@rolanddelorme1) April 28, 2015
Can't stop laughing at this video https://t.co/rWMMtedc54
— Joe Lauzon (@JoeLauzon) April 28, 2015
Taking it easy.
Champ @cainmma and @dc_mma starting off 5 rounds of sparring today. #TeamAKA #UFC pic.twitter.com/Xy9UvdUeSe
— AKA HQ (@AKA_HQ) April 27, 2015
Commenting on Jones.
Blog about the car accident and @JonnyBones is LIVE http://t.co/R5o4K6Fief #MMA #UFC #UFC187 pic.twitter.com/rq993pXv0Q
— Andrei Arlovski (@AndreiArlovski) April 27, 2015
two months remaining then someone have to wake Andy Ogle and tell him that its Masio Fullens turn to take a nap
— Makwan Amirkhani (@MakwanAmirkhani) April 26, 2015
Get well soon.
Thought I broke my foot #ufc186 Just got X-ray results. No bones broken!!! hopefully it heals fast. #ufc. #ouch. pic.twitter.com/FfcVDH30Uq
— Chris Clements (@menaceclements) April 27, 2015
It's nice at the top.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 28, 2015
I'm trying, Nick.
My last fight pretty much won every round #learnhowtowatchafight https://t.co/sgMqjLOEmF
— nick diaz (@nickdiaz209) April 28, 2015
Announced yesterday (April 27 2015)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Jace Barnett.
10 Reasons I Love to Watch and Respect Mighty Mouse
Yes, yes... we all know the reasons you aren't allowed to like Demetrious Johnson. He's too small. He's too short. Your seventh grade daughter outweighs him. He's "boring." He has no personality. Etc. etc. As much as I respect all that, and I don't -- here are ten reasons I absolutely love to watch Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson fight.
10. He's ridiculously fast!
I know big shocker there, but as much as some of you love watching power and bombs, I am in awe of his speed.
9. He's so smooth.
The way he transitions between various aspects of his game is just pretty. Even the way he capitalizes on his failures is smooth. Ever watch the guy shoot a single or double leg, miss badly, and then take his opponent's back? He does it all the time! Whereas most of his peers shoot, miss, take a deep breath, reset, and hope for another chance later.
8. He's incredibly well-rounded.
The only thing the guy doesn't do well is keep his opponents at bay with a long reach, but considering that he stands five foot three, I'm inclined to give him a pass here. Obviously, I'm in the minority.
Check out the rest of the post here.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.
Anthony Johnson willing to 'be like Vitor and wait a year' for Jon Jones
Jon Jones is currently slated to defend his long-held light heavyweight title against Anthony "Rumble" Johnson on May 23 at UFC 187, but that could change soon. Jones turned himself in to the Albuquerque Police Department on felony charges Monday stemming from his alleged role in a bizarre hit-and-run accident that left one pregnant victim with a fractured arm and wrist.
The UFC withheld comment following Jones' arrest. But while UFC 187's main event remains in a state of flux, Johnson is continuing to prepare for Jones as if it's business as usual.
"Nothing's changed," Johnson said Monday on UFC Tonight. "I'm still training hard, staying focused, staying on the grind. Like I said, whoever they give me, whatever they throw my way, I'll be ready no matter what."
Jones posted bail and was released from the Bernalillo County Metro Detention Center late Monday night after being arrested as the primary suspect of a hit-and-run that took place Sunday in Albuquerque, NM. According to witnesses, a silver Buick driven by a man believed to be Jones allegedly ran a red light and caused a three-car accident that left one of the victims with moderate injuries.
The man allegedly fled the scene on foot, before returning to retrieve cash from his vehicle then fleeing once more. A marijuana pipe and marijuana was found within the rental vehicle by officers, along with paperwork relating to MMA and Nevada attributed to "Jonathan Jones." Off-duty police officer J. Sullivan also identified the man as Jones.
Both the UFC and the Nevada Athletic Commission declined to comment regarding Jones' status at this early stage, and at the time of this writing, it's unclear whether Jones will be allowed to fight in Las Vegas at UFC 187.
Johnson (19-4) is a perfect 3-0 so far in his second stint inside the UFC, with a résumé that includes a declarative first-round knockout over Alexander Gustafsson in Gustafsson's native Sweden this past January. That win earned Johnson the right to challenge for Jones' throne, and Johnson is resolute on keeping things that way, regardless of what legal trouble befalls the champion.
"I only want to fight for the title," Johnson said. "I feel like I've worked my way up to being the No. 1 contender, and I plan on staying that way. Unless it's for a title, I don't want to be like Vitor and wait a year. But if I have to, I will."
Ex-Invicta champ Michelle Waterson signs with UFC
The UFC strawweight division just got a little deeper. "The Karate Hottie," Michelle Waterson, has inked a deal to join her fellow Invicta FC veterans inside the Octagon, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani reported Monday on UFC Tonight.
Waterson, the 29-year-old former Invicta FC atomweight champion, is expected to make her 115-pound and promotional debut sometime in the summer against an as-of-yet undecided opponent.
A charismatic fighter who was expected to be the face of the Invicta FC brand following the UFC's mass signing of the 115-pound division and filming of The Ultimate Fighter 20 in 2014, Waterson (12-4) remained under contract with Invicta FC following her Dec. 2014 loss to Herica Tiburcio, however she now becomes the latest high-profile casualty of the all-female promotion's close working relationship with the UFC.
While brief, Waterson's four-fight tenure with Invicta FC proved to be a memorable one. She won 'Fight of the Night' honors in her 2012 debut over Lacey Schuckman, then captured Invicta FC's 105-pound title the following April with a stunning and electric fourth-round armbar victory over current UFC strawweight contender Jessica Penne.
Waterson defended her title once, badly beating Yasuko Tamada en route to a third-round TKO last September in a bout that served as the exclamation point to Invicta FC's first event to broadcast exclusively on UFC Fight Pass.
Her road hit an unexpected speed bump this past December though, when Waterson met unheralded 22-year-old Herica Tiburcio in the main event of Invicta FC 10. Waterson and Tiburcio battled back-and-forth for three gripping rounds before the young Brazilian caught Waterson in a nasty guillotine choke and stole away the 105-pound belt, becoming the youngest champion in Invicta FC history and snapping a six-fight win streak for Waterson.
A Jackson/Winklejohn product who has competed professionally since 2007, Waterson now joins a wide open UFC strawweight division led by Polish striker Joanna Jedrzejczyk but devoid of any clear-cut contender pecking order, meaning opportunities could come quickly for the division's newest marquee name.
UFC champ Jon Jones out of jail on $2,500 bail
Just a few hours after turning himself in, Jon Jones is out of jail Monday night.
The UFC light heavyweight champion posted $2,500 bail and was released before 10 p.m. local time, according to Bernalillo County Metro Detention Center records. Jones was arrested on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injuries earlier Monday evening. Jones was booked 7:11 p.m. local time.
Jones, 27, allegedly ran a red light Sunday morning, striking a car driven by a pregnant woman. There was also a third car involved. The woman, whose name is Vanessa Sonnenberg, broke her arm in the incident. Jones is being accused of fleeing the scene on foot. There was a marijuana pipe and marijuana found in the rental car Jones allegedly left behind. An off-duty police officer, a UFC fan, identified Jones at the scene. Witnesses said Jones went back to the vehicle to grab a handful of money before running away.
Sonnenberg's injury upgraded the Jones charge from a potential misdemeanor to a felony. The arrest warrant was issued Monday afternoon. Jones was also incommunicable until Monday afternoon. His lawyer arranged the plans for Jones to turn himself in, per the Albuquerque Police Department.
UFC has acknowledged Jones' arrest and the promotion does not expect to provide any further statements Monday night. The UFC said in a statement Sunday that it would wait for more information to come in before commenting further. Jones' UFC 187 main event title defense against Anthony Johnson has not officially been called off.
Jones recently moved with his fiancée and three daughters to Albuquerque from upstate New York. He has trained at Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in the New Mexico city for years.
Jones, regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, has had troubles in the past. He was busted for DWI in 2012 and in December tested positive for cocaine metabolites in an out-of-competition drug test conducted by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
That same commission is watching this current situation for closely, executive director Bob Bennett told MMAFighting.com on Monday.