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Jon Jones legal team could be positioning for plea deal in felony hit-and-run case

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There might be movement in the Jon Jones case very soon.

The former UFC champion's legal team could be positioning him for a plea deal in Bernalillo County Second Judicial District Court in his felony hit-and-run case, MMA Fighting has learned.

Jones' case was transferred from Metropolitan Court in Albuquerque, N.M., to Second Judicial District Court and assigned to judge Charles Brown on Monday, according to documents obtained by MMA Fighting. The judicial assignment document reads that the case is coming to Brown's court "on the stipulation of the parties for the entry of a pre-indictment plea."

Jones does not have to give a plea unless he is indicted by a grand jury. The case has not gone to a grand jury and the fact that it is now in Second Judicial District Court means it has bypassed that step.

A message left for Jones' lawyer Vincent Ward was not returned Thursday.

On April 26, Jones allegedly ran a red light in a rented SUV, striking a car driven by a pregnant woman. Jones allegedly fled the scene afterward. The woman broke her arm in the collision. After Albuquerque police could not find him for nearly 24 hours, Jones turned himself in and was arrested on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury.

At that point, the Bernalillo County district attorney had 60 days to determine whether or not to bring the case to a grand jury. Those 60 days expired in June, but there was still a possibility of it seeing a grand jury until this week.

Jones, 28, was suspended by the UFC and stripped of his title one day after his arrest. He was supposed to defend the belt against Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 187 in May. Instead, Daniel Cormier replaced him and beat Johnson for the vacant strap.

Jones, regarded as the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter in the world, has not fought since beating Cormier in the main event of UFC 182 last January. He was the youngest champion in UFC history at age 23 when he beat Mauricio Rua in 2011.

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