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Morning Report: Chael Sonnen says only 'a punk' would wear Jon Jones' championship belt without beating him

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Chael Sonnen is certainly no stranger to the legal process.

The former UFC contender is serving a two-year suspension for testing positive for banned substances, but argues now former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones shouldn't face similar consequences.

Jones was suspended by the UFC and stripped of his title this week following his alleged involvement in a hit and run auto accident April 26 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"Listen, if you want to come down on a guy, you release him," Sonnen said this week on his podcast. "That's it. You don't keep him but take his belt away. Not even in professional wrestling would they do that. Take a guy's belt without him being out due to an injury? Without him losing one, two, three? It doesn't work that way.

"So lets just make believe that it does. You're going to punish Jon Jones for a legal action in Albuquerque, which has nothing to do with a fist fight taking place in Nevada, but let's pretend. What the hell do you do with him then? Does he not fight main events anymore? If he's not fighting for titles do we move him over to [Fox Sports 1]? Who does he fight? Does he fight the other No. 1 contenders?"

Anthony Johnson was due to challenge Jones May 23 in the main event at UFC 187 in Las Vegas. With former contender Daniel Cormier stepping in on short notice, 'Rumble' loses out on being the man who beat the man.

"Guys want to see Jon Jones stripped and then they want to fight for a title?" asked Sonnen. "But you don't cut him so he's still in the league. You know he can beat you. You know he's the undefeated champion. You know he's the best fighter out there. How are you going to put that belt around your waist and feel good about it? He didn't fail a drug test. He wasn't in violation with the commission.

"If Jon Jones stays in the division and you accept a title while he's still in the division and you didn't beat him, you're a punk. You're a punk! I would never put a belt around my waist knowing the guy five feet away from me is the true owner of it."

Jones faces a felony charge of leaving the scene of a crime and could face jail time if convicted.

"I would never defend what Jon did, however, we do have bodies to take care of those things," said Sonnen. "They're called 'the police.' It sounds like Jon has an issue with the police, which will be escalated to the [District Attorney's] office, but it needs to stay there in Albuquerque. I'm not sure how that would affect a state agency out in Nevada."

According to Sonnen, it should be up to the authorities to police athletes, not the UFC.

"The UFC shouldn't be put in this spot," said Sonnen. "If the commission says, 'We're fine with the fight' then the UFC should hold the fight. It doesn't need to be this big [public relations] battle with people pushing back. We're running a fight business. We're not running a church, here. If the commission, a government agency, says, 'Green-light it' then hold the damn fight. Quit trying to hold the UFC responsible for everything."

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

The MMA Beat. The panel discusses all things Jon Jones: from his arrest, to getting stripped of the belt, to losing sponsors.

Champ to champ. UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez says Jon Jones needs to 'fix' what's wrong in his life.

Out. John Makdessi will now face Donald Cerrone at UFC 187 with Khabib Nurmagomedov set to undergo surgery Friday.

Oh, AKA. Javier Mendez calls Khabib Nurmagomedov's injury a 'freak accident.'

'Excited to be starting over.' WSOF has released UFC veteran Melvin Guillard.

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MEDIA STEW

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New UFC 187 promo.

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Donald Cerrone keeps truckin'.

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More Sonnen on Jones.

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Pancrase, PRIDE, IFL and UFC vet Allan Goes calls out Renzo Gracie.

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Bob Sapp threatening to have another fight with Hong Man Choi.

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TTTHS.

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Long watches.

Mayweather vs Pacquiao: Final Predictions

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BAMMA 20 - Access All Areas

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THE MMA ROAD SHOW WITH JOHN MORGAN - EPISODE 5 - LAS VEGAS

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TWEETS

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Clearing that up.

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Congrats.

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Confident.

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Cool.

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Get well soon.

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Beef.

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This Week in Struggle.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (April 30 2015)

Khabib Nurmagomedov out, Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi at UFC 187

Tom Lawlor vs. Gian Villante at UFC on FOX 16

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via tigerlee.

The Outsiders: Top 25 LHWs Outside UFC, BMMA, and WSOF - April Edition

While most of the best talent is under the UFC banner and Bellator and WSOF have seemed scooped up the rest, there is still plenty of talent yet to be signed by the top promotions of the MMA food chain. These are not necessarily 'free agents' or even prospects, they are top 100 ranked fighters who are navigating the nebulous seas of regional and international fight promotion for whatever reason.

Most of the top half of the light heavyweight rankings stayed the same as the February edition with very minor re-shuffling. Dongi Yang made a surprise comeback with a first round TKO win over Dennis Hallman in South Korea. Although a great win, The Ox is probably better suited at 185 than 205. Kelvin Tiller surged back into the rankings with a second round RNC over Marcus Sursa in March. Misha Cirkunov defeated Rodney Wallace by head kick TKO in the first round to move himself into the rankings as well.

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Check out the rest of the post here.

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Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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