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For Jon Jones, a single night of rehab doesn't feel so much like a stint as it does a stunt

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Wait, wait, wait, now hold up.

Just so we're straight…on a Saturday night, Jon Jones defended his title against Daniel Cormier. By Tuesday, he entered a rehabilitation facility to deal with a cocaine issue. By Wednesday, he was out like brook trout, free to roam the earth and once again try himself against its temptations. Triumph, scandal, voluntary exile, freedom, all in the course of four days.

Now that’s some fancy footwork. Forget about Muhammad Ali comparisons; Jones could hold that kind of work up to Napoleon.

It was Jones’ mom, Camille, who ultimately dished up this new intel. She told the CBS affiliate WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y., that her son checked out of rehab, but was "continuing to get more educated on the subject." Educated? As in snorting up the sidewalks on Albuquerque until he grasps its full effects? No, silly! As in how to better rally against that demon drug and all its mane-shaking power.

They call this "outpatient."

And for all those who were ushering in prayers for Jones and his recovery, you may now offer up thanks to your deity for His expediency in the matter. Jones is on his way to Foxboro to watch his brothers Arthur (Indianapolis Colts) and Chandler (New England Patriots) square off in the AFC Championship game. After that, hey, he’s just a dropkick away from Boston, where Conor McGregor is being showcased against Dennis Siver that night. Might as well sneak some fights in there, too, because freedom affords just that sort of whimsy! Sunday could be a fun one for Jonny "Bones," who is already well on his way to being fully rehabilitated.

All he needed was a single night of sober introspection. This is the most publicized one-night stand so far in 2015.

And that’s the thing that bothers me about it all. The PR slant. The damage control. The surface feed. The fixing of holes in the foundation with the use of duct tape and cardboard. Jones has a harder time selling us his problems than he does his greatness. That’s all backwards. Why the charades?

The real truth? I'd say Nate Diaz’s educated guess as to what was going behind the curtains feels closest. It was Diaz who tweeted out that the whole Jones-to-rehab idea was a publicity stunt. Jones heard he popped hot for cocaine metabolites -- in a test that should never have been poking around in such dark corners so far out from his fight -- and the tidiest route to take was "rehab." People applauded that immediate action -- including Dana White who, like many others, expressed health-first concerns and even went do far as to call it "great" -- because it meant he was getting help for his problem.

Problem is problems don’t go away after a single night of direct acknowledgment. If Jones had a problem, he’d still be in rehab. If he didn’t, it's an open door policy, they could have told him so. If they told him so, well, who knows how many sets of dupes we’re dealing in. Jones is either expert or clumsy at obfuscation, depends on the incident. It all goes into the adventure that has been made of his Wikipedia page.

Yet, all of this for what? To fish for TMZ’s attention? Jones still fought and won (dominantly) and the most anybody had on him was that he enjoyed an occasional bump from time to time. Not admirable, but not altogether damnable, either. Cocaine and sudden millionaires have a long history together. You can look it up.

But to check in and only muster a single night in a rehab facility falls short of even keeping up appearances; it doesn’t even allow the public enough time to achieve maximum gullibility. In fact, it comes off as a ruse -- like a magic trick where Jon pulls a string of colorful handkerchiefs from his closed hand, but you can’t help but notice it’s actually coming from his sleeve.

At least, in this particular episode of Getting to Know Jon Jones, we can only hope that’s the case. That beats the alternative that he actually does have a drug issue, which is being addressed in whatever curious way that he thinks best. The UFC 182 in-competition drug tests could shed light on that one way or another when they come back. The drama isn’t done yet.

But you know things are a little jacked up when the best case scenario seems to be this: That it’s less a problem of Jones dealing with a substance issue than it is Jones’ on-going problem of handling negative publicity.