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Jon Jones says he was ticketed for drag racing, denies wrongdoing

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jon Jones wanted fans to hear it from him first.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion told Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour that he was pulled over in his car last week in Albuquerque and given five tickets, including one for drag racing. Jones said he didn't do anything wrong and was absolutely not drag racing in what he said was a 35-mph zone.

This is only news because Jones is on probation after a felony hit-and-run incident in April 2015. Jones ran a red light in a rented SUV and struck a vehicle driven by a pregnant woman, breaking her arm. He pleaded guilty and was given a conditional discharge by a judge in Albuquerque in September. If he completed 18 months of probation and 72 appearances of community service, Jones would not get any jail time and the felony would be wiped away.

Last week, Jones said he was driving home from having dinner with his teammates and pulled up at a red light next to some fans. Jones said he didn't really want to talk, so he jokingly revved his engine at the red light, causing the fans to cheer and laugh. Once the light turned green, Jones said he proceeded and a second later he was pulled over.

Jones, 28, said he had barely gone 10 yards from the stoplight when the officer pulled him over. Jones said things got "heated" between him and the cop when the officer accused him of drag racing. The fighter said the officer ended up giving him five tickets.

"I definitely wasn't drag racing," Jones said. "I got emotional and said some things that I probably shouldn't have said to a police officer."

Jones said he regrets some of the things that he said, but he became very emotional because just a few days later he was in court for another traffic citation and the judge warned him not to get any other tickers for 90 days. The previous ticket did not affect his probation at all.

A spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department confirmed Jones was ticketed for drag racing, an ordinance against a modified exhaust, an illegible license plate, unable to maintain a traffic lane and exhibition driving. His court date is April 5.

Jones does not believe he is being targeted by the Albuquerque Police Department. He blamed the one officer.

"I actually have a lot of friends in the department," Jones said. "I doubt that's the case. I just think this officer in particular was looking for a DWI or something. He was trying to stick with me one of those and once he realized I was sober, I don't know if he was in a bad mood or whatever, but he was definitely confrontational.

"He needed something to justify pulling me over. He fabricated the whole thing that I was drag racing."

Jones was suspended indefinitely by the UFC and stripped of his light heavyweight title by the UFC after the hit-and-run arrest in April 2015. He is slated to come back to attempt to win the title back against rival Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 197 on April 23 in Las Vegas.

Jones, the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and one of the best of all time, has been arrested for suspicion of DUI twice in the past.

In this drag-racing case, Jones said he spoke to his probation officer and was going to let his lawyers worry about the tickets while he focuses on Cormier. Jones said he expected an unfair "whirlwind" from the press, so he figured he'd just let everyone know about these tickets himself.

"This is probably gonna hit the media really soon," Jones said. "I guess I'll talk about it right now before it comes out anywhere else. You can hear it first from me."

The UFC released a statement later Monday, saying it was looking into the incident.

"We are aware of the situation and are looking into the matter," the statement read. "We've also been in touch with Jon's team regarding the matter."