With the recent announcement that No. 1 light heavyweight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson would be taking on surging No. 3 contender Ryan Bader in the main event of January 30’s UFC on FOX event, the stage is all but set for recently reinstated dominant former champion Jon Jones to return and fight his archrival Daniel Cormier for the belt.
Jones was famously arrested for felony hit-and-run charges when he crashed into an unknowing 25-year-old pregnant woman in the wee hours of April 27 in Albuquerque, New Mexico; inciting a two-day manhunt and a nationwide media frenzy. The embattled former champ ultimately settled on an 18-month conditional discharge that involves him making 72 charitable appearances and last week it was made official that “Bones” was back.
They’ve teased a massive Cormier vs. Jones bout at April 23’s supposed show in New York, but “DC” repeatedly said he won’t fight “Bones” on his home turf, the only place where he wouldn’t be met with anger and hatred after all of the controversial, irresponsible, and addictive behaviors that he’s shown the public over the past few years.
There’s little reason to think that Jones won’t become his worst enemy once again, and in truth that could become the biggest obstacle in the way of a blockbuster rematch of Jones and Cormier’s UFC 183 headliner, a bout that was arguably more hyped than any in UFC history (this was before Aldo vs. McGregor, of course) after their famous media day brawl at the MGM Grand.
“Bones” may be reinstated, but he’s the kind of fighter that could destroy his whole career with one bad night. Read on to find out why that will most likely be the case.
Jones has a long, long list of questionable decisions and the ensuing trouble that has him on a short leash, meaning that one more screw-up could cancel another one of his fights like his previously scheduled one with Johnson at May 23’s UFC 187, and the ramifications would be even worse this time.
For example, back in 2012 Jones got a driving under the influence (DUI) charge when he crashed his Bentley into a street pole in the wee hours of the morning in his native New York. While it was chalked up as a youthful mistake for a champ who had experienced a ton of fame and money in a short amount of time at a young age, it was the first disturbing sign that Jones was not the religious affirmation-spewing choirboy that he was built up to be.
He was given probation and didn’t seem to get in all that much trouble, which was understandable if he didn’t have a lot of prior offenses on his record. But “Bones” didn’t seem to take his warning too seriously, as more trouble with drugs and alcohol was soon on the way. Find out how his addiction problems only got worse on the next page.
Jones’ addiction problems surfaced yet again when, after he beat Cormier in a five-round war at January 3’s UFC 182, he had failed a pre-fight drug test for cocaine and had jokingly spent one day in “rehab” being evaluated to see if he was a cocaine addict, and it was determined he conveniently was not.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the situation was that Jones was allowed to fight even though he apparently failed a random pre-fight test. Anything to save a big money fight, but it ended up that coke wasn’t banned out of competition. Anyway, Jones’ reputation took a big hit, but shockingly things got a lot worse just a few short months later. That brings us to Jones’ latest and most damaging bout with drugs and alcohol…
The whole hit-and-run fiasco did perhaps irreparable damage to Jones’ rep, as he lost a big dollar sponsorship deal with Reebok, yet his biggest punishment came in the form of the UFC’s somewhat surprising decision to indefinitely suspend him and strip him of the belt.
There might be several schools of thought to the subject, yet it was ultimately understandable given that Jones apparently fled from his wrecked rental vehicle only to return and grab a fistful of money while leaving his marijuana, paraphernalia, and identifying papers behind. So the former champ said he would get help for his problems. Recently he even admitted that he was “living like an idiot” and had turned things around.
While that remains to be seen, his track record obviously suggests that we can’t believe a single thing he says. Jones is no doubt one of the most elite fighters in MMA history; it could be argued that he is the greatest fighter to ever step into the cage. However, his disturbing sequence of huge mistakes involving drugs and alcohol has only gotten worse with time, and if the pattern of addiction holds true for Jones, he hasn’t seen near his last battle with it. The sad truth is that it seems that Jones has become his own worst enemy, the only one coming even close to being capable of stopping him. Yes, he’s gone to a decision in his last three fights and hasn’t finished a match since Chael Sonnen in early 2013, but it’s hard to imagine “Bones” isn’t still the best until he loses.
And unfortunately, he’s got to show up to the fights in order to show us what exactly is true. One more incident with drugs and alcohol, and we could see Jones suspended forever. If history tells us anything, it’s only a matter of time before Jones sets that potentially disastrous occasion into motion.
It’s on him to prove to us otherwise. Has he put the wild times behind him in order to focus solely on the fight game, or do you think we’ll see him back in hot water soon?