As an athlete, Jon Jones gets my ultimate respect for what he has shown us can be physically possible when gifted in the fight game with heart, strength, a mastery of one's craft, long limbs and extreme agility. He's shown that you do not need a superior Division 1 wresting pedigree or Gracie level jiu-jitsu to be a cage assassin of the most epic proportions.
But that’s where it has always stopped for me.
Youth lends the ambitious audacity of redemption via the learning curve we all inherently have to go through. It is an Arc de Triumph to go from punk to maturation and it takes may screwups to get there. For most of us, this is done outside of the public eye where no one cares but our loved ones.
However, in professional sports where the public is cajoled to dole out hard-earned disposable income to watch athletes do battle in an eight-sided cage, a higher maturation I.Q. is not only expected, it is required.
So the world of MMA fans exhaled a deep and long sigh upon hearing that the US Anti Doping Agency had cancelled the main event of UFC 200 due to interim light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, 28, testing positive for a banned substance. The test was administered in an out-of-competition sample taken June 16th, almost a month before the scheduled bout.
Those familiar with young Bones’ sordid MMA story were disappointed after a series of letdowns began to crush the preacher’s kid narrative that was peddled for so long as marketing bait. The illustrious family from Endicott, New York has produced three outstanding athletic sons, two in the NFL including a Super Bowl winner and one a UFC champion.
It was the ultimate Cinderella story and we batted our eyes at the younger Jones as he swatted challengers away like flies. This kid who was truly blessed was living the dream and showed where the future of the sport is going in sheer physical dominance alone.
Then the pious visage began to peel, and what was revealed was a privileged, spoiled athletic talent that was beginning to lose the balancing act of appearances versus destructive habitual proclivities.
Back in 2012, Jones wrapped his then new Continental GT Bentley around a pole at 5:02 am in Binghamton, NY and was arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).
(Jon Jones' Crashed Bentley, Photo Credit: smma.com)
But things happen to the youth and we looked past the infraction while secretly hating that anyone could destroy a beautiful car that recklessly.
Then he was fined $25,000 from the UFC after he tested positive for metabolites found in cocaine in late 2014, just one month prior to his fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 in January 2015.
The positive test violated the UFC athlete code of conduct policy, which can punish any fighter for behavior considered detrimental to the promotion.
Jones, who tested positive for cocaine in a pre-fight drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission but because recreational drugs are only banned within 24 hours of competition, was still permitted to fight Cormier.
Jones defeated Cormier via a unanimous decision.
A mere few months later in April 2015, Jones turned himself into authorities in Albuquerque, where he trains, after allegedly leaving the scene of a car crash that left a pregnant woman injured.
(Photo Credit: mmafighting.com)
He reportedly ran a red light, crashing into another vehicle. Jones then ran away from the scene only to return a short time later to retrieve cash from the rental SUV before fleeing again. Police reported they found a pipe with marijuana in the SUV.
Jones’ title defense against Anthony Johnson scheduled for May 2015 at UFC 187 was scrapped and he was eventually stripped of the belt and suspended from the UFC indefinitely.
Then the world rejoiced when it was announced on Good Morning America that the rematch of the year was to be at UFC 200: Cormier vs. Jones.
Unfortunately for the fans and for Daniel Cormier, who has endured setbacks from physical injury, loss of a daughter to an auto accident early in his wrestling career and now the biggest potential payday loss of reportedly over $1 million dollars, it is downright intolerable.
There is a movie coming to theaters later this month called “The Free State of Jones”, where Mississippi Confederate deserter turned Union loyalist, Newt Knight, begins to erode at the forces within the South to try and aid the North in winning the Civil War.
Knight is a walking cacophony of contradictions and raw inhibitions and he successfully, negatively impacts the lives of many while pursuing his own agenda in the name of supposed righteousness.
He is in perpetual free fall landing where he may as fate takes over the bloody true narrative.
In the free state of Jon Jones, inconsistency has led to disappointment and failures and although he hasn’t been proven guilty of anything yet, with an appeals process also in place that could potentially clear him of any supposed wrongdoing, he has failed in the court of public opinion.
At this stage of the game after all the disappointments, the fans want and deserve more from Jon Jones and the UFC’s talent incubation system. If the allegations are true, the standard suspension time is two years away from competition as a punishment.
If Bones is found guilty of whatever substance they are claiming, then let him secede from the organization so we can get back to the business of fighting and not the business of drama or PED cheating.