Jon Jones made his first appearance in court Tuesday on a felony charge, and the door has been left open for him to fight next month -- at least legally.
The UFC light heavyweight champion was released from custody on continued bond by a judge in San Bernalillo (N.M.) County court, according to spokesperson Camille Cordova. Jones was arrested on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury Monday and posted $2,500 bond then. That bail carries over to his Tuesday release and he will not have to post more money.
Jones' attorney Vincent Ward asked the judge not to impose travel restrictions on Jones, because Jones is scheduled to fight against Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas, according to Cordova. Jones was originally ordered not to leave the county by the court's background investigation division Monday night, Cordova said.
The judge, though, said she planned on lifting that order anyway and Jones will not have any travel restrictions. Legally, he would be able to travel to Nevada for the Johnson fight. The UFC has not made any official decisions about the fight's status as of Tuesday afternoon.
Jones also must not possess or consume alcohol or enter liquor establishments; not buy, sell, consume or possess illegal drugs; not violate any law; notify the court of any change of address and maintain contact with his attorney, according to the conditions of his release.
Now, the district attorney will determine if Jones' case will be brought to a grand jury. If so, the grand jury will then decide whether or not to indict Jones. The fighter will not make a plea unless he is indicted, which is standard precedent for a felony in New Mexico, per Cordova. If the case is indicted, it will take place in second judicial court in Albuquerque.
The DA has 60 days to decide whether or not to bring the charges to a grand jury, according to spokesperson Kayla Anderson told MMAFighting.com.
Jones, the UFC light heavyweight champion, allegedly ran a red light Sunday morning while driving a rented silver Buick SUV in Albuquerque, striking another car and igniting a three-car collision, according to the police report. He is being accused of leaving the scene, but only after going back to the vehicle and grabbing a handful of cash. The victim, Vanessa Sonnenberg, suffered a broken arm, per the arrest affidavit.
Inside the rental vehicle, police found marijuana, a marijuana pipe and paperwork with Jones' name on it. There was also paperwork referencing MMA and Nevada.
Jones does not face any drug charges at this time, according to police spokesperson Tanner Tixier. That potential misdemeanor possession charge could be revisited at a later date, but in New Mexico felonies and misdemeanors are not put on the same charging document.