For years, Jon Jones was viewed as a fighter who would one day go down as the greatest fighter in MMA history. As of now, his MMA career may have have to be put on hold for years to come.
About an hour ago on Fox Sports Live, the UFC announced its decision to strip their talented, yet controversial champion of his title. The decision came just two days after Jones was questioned for an alleged hit-and-run incident in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
According to Albuquerque police, Jones struck a car in the early hours of Sunday, April 25, which caused it to crash into another car. The occupant of the car which was hit by Jones, a 30-year-old pregnant woman, suffered a broken arm. Instead of calling the police, or offering any assistance, Jones was seen by witnesses, one of whom was an off-duty police officer, running from the scene. He returned, but ran again, after grabbing some money.
Jones was later called in for questioning, named as a prime suspect in the incident, which was raised to a felony count and eventually turned him self in on Monday. He was held on $2,500 bail, which was paid later that night. The story, however, was still not complete.
On Tuesday, UFC President Dana White and owner Lorenzo Fertitta traveled to New Mexico to meet with Jones. Then, just about an hour ago, the news broke that Jones was suspended, and officially stripped of his title.
Shortly before the announcement, the former champion put forth a statement, in which he said, “Got a lot of soul searching to do. Sorry to everyone I’ve let down.”
Unfortunately for Jones, that soul searching may have to be done through several months of litigation, as well as potential jail time. Legal analysts, such as Rob Becker, are predicting that the litigation and court battle could take upwards of a year to get settled, which may be the length of Jones’ suspension. He may wind up settling for a plea deal, but a maximum sentence could result in Jones having to spend three years in prison. Even with a deal, he may have to serve over a year in jail.
This is not the first time the troubled star has been under scrutiny. Back in 2012, he was cited for a DUI, resulting in a suspended license for six months, amongst other forms of discipline. Since then, he has been accused of posting homophobic slurs, eye-poking opponents on various occasions, and notoriously failed his UFC 182 drug test after testing positive for cocaine metabolites. He was not disciplined, however, since the test was done out of competition.
Alas, the UFC had no choice but to strip Jones of his title after his latest offense. They had to make an example out of him, and to their credit, they did just that. For an organization that has been heavily scrutinized over the years, they made a decision that many felt they would not make. As hard of a pill as this news is for many MMA fans to swallow, the UFC has to be applauded for doing the right thing in this scenario.
In the end, this serves as a classic case of a person who had it all, might have gone down as the greatest ever in his profession, and flushed it all away. Or, it may be the turning point in the ultimate comeback story. Only time will tell, but there’s no doubt that this is a dark day in the history of MMA.