Jon Jones pled guilty to one felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving injury and he avoided jail time when a judge granted him a conditional discharge.
The Ex-UFC Light Heavyweight champion was given up to 18 months supervised probation and will be required to make 72 speaking appearances. Through the plea deal he will avoid a felony conviction as long as he finishes probation and completes the speaking engagements without incident. Also, his probation could be ended earlier than 18 months if the court deems it.
“Mr. Jones, you got real lucky, and in a number of ways, I think you need to talk to young people because making one stupid decision changes your entire future,” Judge Charles Brown of the Second Judicial District Court.left a pregnant woman with a broken arm.
Jones, 28, was involved in a hit and run accident last April in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which left a pregnant woman with a broken arm. The fighter fled the scene only to return for a wad a cash.
Police found MMA memorabilia and rental paperwork linking the car to Jones, as well as a marijuana pipe with marijuana and condoms.
Jones released a statement via EAG Sports Management:
“With regards to today’s decision made by the court, I am very happy to now be able to put this incident behind me. My actions have caused pain and inconvenience in the lives of others and for that I am truly sorry and I accept full responsibility. I have been working hard during this time away from my sport to grow and mature as a man and to ensure that nothing like this happens again. I have learned a great deal from this situation and I am determined to emerge a better person because of it.
“I apologize to those who were affected by my actions in this incident and I am hopeful that I will be given the opportunity to redeem myself in the eyes of the public, my family and friends as well as my supporters. I am not sure what the future holds for me but I plan to continue to do the work needed to be productive and successful in every aspect of my life.”
Jones was supposed to fight Anthony Johnson in a title defense before these events and was replaced by Daniel Cormier, who beat Johnson and is the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Since winning Cormier has been very vocal about his desire to fight Jones to become the true champion, especially after losing to Jones at UFC 182 in January via unanimous decision.
After winning the belt against Johnson at UFC 187 last May, Cormier’s victory speech was aimed solely at the former champion when he declared to in-ring interviewer Joe Rogan, “Jon Jones all I have to say is get your sh*t together.”
This weekend Cormier faces Alexander Gustafsson as the main event for UFC 192 in his first ever title defense. Gustafsson is the only fighter to date to give Jones any real problems, earning fan wide respect after busting up Jones in their controversial fight where many believed Gustafsson did enough to win.
With the return of Rashad Evans against Ryan Bader this weekend as well, the UFC Light Heavyweight division is getting good again; but without its icon to give a real challenge to these contenders, are their wins really the same? Will fans take to the faces of the division without Jones in the picture?
With the loss of Jon Jones, coupled with the losses of Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, the UFC has had to rely on Women’s Bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey, and interim Featherweight champion, Conor McGregor, to become the face of the sport and push the ticket and PPV sales. There was once a time when Dana White said he would never see a climate where women’s MMA thrived yet he was forced to create one with debacles like Jones and other champions posting strange exits from competition.
With MMA now being labeled as having the highest rates of domestic violence amongst its athletes, UFC and MMA have a problem that has begun with the airing of a fighter’s dirty laundry and might end with a further cleansing of its athletic house.
The UFC also released a statement that said the agreement will be reviewed before any further action is taken (via UFC.com):
The UFC organization is aware that Jon Jones reached a plea agreement with authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico this morning stemming from charges associated with a motor vehicle accident earlier this year. As a result, UFC, through Las Vegas-based law firm Campbell & Williams, will thoroughly review the agreement before discussing Jones’ possible reinstatement to return to competition.
More information will be made available following completion of this review.