Go ahead and file this one under ‘better late than never.' On the heels of a controversial traffic stop which resulted in five traffic tickets and a violation of his probation, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has enlisted the services of his nutritionist, Lou Giordano, to also serve as his full-time driver ahead of UFC 197 on April 23.
"I have him here and he's driving me between every practice all day, even at night now," Jones said Monday on The MMA Hour. "I figured I'd take getting in trouble out of the police's hands by simply not driving."
Jones challenges Ovince Saint Preux for the interim UFC light heavyweight title this month at UFC 197 in Las Vegas, NV.
While he is widely considered the No.1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, Jones and the road have a tenuous history together that stretches all the way back to 2012, when Jones first crashed his Bentley Continental GT into a pole in New York and subsequently pled guilty to DUI charges.
That trouble wormed its way back into Jones' life last month, when body camera footage captured Jones calling officer Jason Brown of the Albuquerque Police Department a "f*cking liar" and a "pig" during a heated traffic stop that ended up with Jones receiving five tickets, including one for drag racing.
"There's a pattern throughout my career," Jones said. "I've never gotten into a street fight, nothing crazy. It's always been something behind the wheel. So, by simply not driving, I'm pretty positive that there won't be any issues coming up in my life, especially (with my) sobriety as well. I've failed some drug tests in the past and I've gotten some traffic issues in the past. Now that I'm sober, now that I'm just not going to drive anyone for a while, I think we're going to be good."
Jones was infamously stripped of his long-held UFC light heavyweight title in 2015 for his involvement in a hit-and-run accident which left one pregnant victim with a broken arm.
The 28-year-old Jackson-Winkeljohn product was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation for the incident, but again came under fire this past January when he was cited for driving without a license, driving without proof of insurance, and driving without registration during a routine traffic stop with the Albuquerque Police Department.
As fate would have it, just one day after those traffic tickets were cleared from his record, Jones tumbled headfirst back into trouble when officer Brown pulled him over.
Jones ultimately spent two days in jail on probation violation for the incident. He was released late last week after agreeing attend courses for driver improvement and anger management, along with completing 60 additional hours of community service and abiding by new restrictions on his driving abilities.
While the UFC stated that it was "disappointed" and "concerned" by Jones' latest run-in with the law, it also maintained that Jones' return at UFC 197 will continue as planned, with Saint Preux filling in for an injured Daniel Cormier.
"[Jones] made a mistake and maybe said things he shouldn't have," Jackson-Winkeljohn head trainer Greg Jackson said Monday on The MMA Hour. "It was just a bad situation all around, and he got in trouble, refocused, came out; so that's the part I like, is that he's focused. He's got a driver now, so everything should be fine.
"I just want him to focus on fighting. That's what he needs to worry about. The rest of the circus, he needs to not be distracted by. He's a warrior, and he needs to focus on that."