On Friday, UFC featherweight Rony Jason was on his way to celebrate a friend’s birthday at a night club in Natal, Brazil when he was stopped by police en-route. The MMA fighter, who had was suspected of being under the influence yet refused to take a breathalyzer test, was issued a fine by the local police.
Globo first reported the incident, and Jason admitted to MMA Fighting he drank a few shots of whiskey before leaving his home for the party.
"I drank earlier that day but stopped, so I wouldn’t risk [being subjected to a breathalyzer]," Jason told MMA Fighting. "I don’t know for how long it stays in your system."
In 2008, Brazil approved a zero tolerance law for alcohol and driving, known as "Lei Seca" (Dry Law). However, since citizens are not obligated to provide any incriminating evidence against oneself, refusing the breathalyzer test and opting for a fine is acceptable.
On the original report, police officer Styvenson Valentim, who was on duty that night, said Jason requested special treatment since he was a UFC fighter, but Jason denies asking for any privileges.
"I told the cop I defend the state of Rio Grande do Norte with blood and sweat, and they are unbelievable," Jason said. "Something like that. And I guess the cop and the captain thought I wanted special treatment. I don’t know how they figured that out."
Jason also questioned why the police officer shared his story on a social media. On his Facebook page, Valentim, who shared a link to the Globo story hours after the incident, posted a statement.
"The cop that stopped Mr. Rony told me on the radio that he wanted at least a ‘special’ treatment, ‘something better,’ because he represents the state of Rio Grande do Norte in MMA," Valentim wrote. "Mr. Rony’s ‘request’ was interpreted by the ‘Lei Seca’ officer as a request for privilege. Only after hearing that conversation over the radio was when I found out they were talking about a fighter.
"I will share here that we've stopped some UFC fighter. However, they had conduct and behavior consistent with the situation of drivers who committed an infraction," he continued. "Unlike Mr. Rony, they didn’t use their ‘fame’ to try to gain some type of advantage, so their identity was kept preserved."
Answering to critics on a Facebook page, Jason said, "I’m not a superhero and I don’t want to be," asserting that people should talk about his MMA career only, not his personal life.
"I ask Mr. Rony to become an example for people," Valentim wrote. "As an athlete who represents the state, preserve and ensure this representation, because I could see here on my (Facebook) page that many people admire you."
Jason (14-5, 1 no-contest) is currently suspended by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) for failing a drug test following his submission win over Damon Jackson in May, testing positive for a banned diuretic.