Jon Jones has seen better weeks. Within the span of four chaotic days, the ex-UFC light heavyweight champion not only lost his UFC title, but also his blue-chip Reebok sponsorship, his headlining spot at UFC 187, and his immediate livelihood in the sport, having been stripped of his belt and suspended indefinitely by the UFC for his alleged role in a hit-and-run accident that left one pregnant victim with a broken arm.
The move was a relatively unprecedented one for the UFC to make, publicly disgracing one of its pound-for-pound best for actions taken outside of the fighting world. But according to UFC President Dana White, it was a necessary step and one that was simply the culmination of a long-ranging series of mistakes made by the former champion.
"A lot of people know, Jon's had a lot of chances," White said Wednesday on ESPN's SportsNation. "This one was his last chance. He's got to handle his business outside of the Octagon and then we'll see where he goes from there."
Jones' rap sheet has grown rather extensive over his four-year reign as UFC champion. The 27-year-old was cited for driving with a suspended license back in 2011, then arrested seven months later in New York for driving while intoxicated. Jones was also recently fined $25,000 by the UFC after testing positive for cocaine metabolites in an out-of-competition drug test prior to his UFC 182 fight against Daniel Cormier.
Jones spent one day in a rehabilitation center for the failed test, but this past Sunday became the tipping point in a pattern of poor decisions. According to witnesses, a man believed to be Jones allegedly ran a red light and crashed his silver Buick at an Albuquerque intersection, causing a three-car accident that left one of the victims with moderate injuries. The man allegedly fled the scene on foot, before returning to retrieve cash from his vehicle then fleeing once more. Police officers found marijuana and paperwork relating to Jones inside the vehicle.
The UFC announced yesterday that Jones was forcibly pulled from his May 23 fight against Anthony Johnson, and instead Johnson will fight Daniel Cormier for the vacated UFC light heavyweight title. Jones was also removed from the UFC's official rankings, forfeiting his title as the number-one pound-for-pound fighter in the organization.
The decision was one that upset White to make, but now that it's done, Jones' status is expected to remain tenuous for the foreseen future.
"Obviously he's one of our biggest stars," White said. "He was on his way to becoming one of the greatest ever, and he's got some legal problems he's got to deal with now. So we suspended him, stripped him of the title, and he's got some work to do outside of the sport. Then we'll decide when he comes back."