Daniel Cormier could have gloated after news broke that Jon Jones tested positive for a banned substance in a UFC 214 pre-fight drug test. After all, the rivals have rarely hesitated to verbally tear into one another at any other point in their years-long series of disputes.
Instead, the newly restored UFC light heavyweight champion responded with a sense of grace and class not often associated with the sport of mixed martial arts. Rather than kick Jones while he was down, Cormier went on Instagram last week and posted a message asking fans to leave the troubled Jones and his family alone.
That simple action drew DC rave reviews. But on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Cormier said he wasn’t looking to make some sort of sweeping gesture with the post.
“It’s not some big, grand gesture,” Cormier said. “It’s just the simplest form of human emotion. You know? Compassion.”
Cormier knows both sides of the coin. He knows the adulation and the love of the fans, and he knows what its like to have some of the smaller minds out there cover for their own insecurities by lashing at public figures under the cover of anonymity.
And it’s human nature to focus on the latter instead of the former.
“I don’t know exactly what the guy’s going through, obviously,” Cormier said. “But I know that when sh*t’s bad, it sucks when people are piling on. So I’m like, man, kinda lay off, you know? It sucks. Because it’s crazy, you can have the most support in the world, and the ones that are going ‘haha, you cried on national television, you’re a p*ssy, you’re this, you’re that,’ those are the ones that kinda stick with you. So I can only imagine the amount of people that call him all that stuff, and it’s just like, give the guy some space.”
Cormier appreciates the fans who rallied to his side after he was knocked out by Jones on July 29 in Anaheim, a loss which has since been changed by the California State Athletic Commission to a no-contest in the wake of the USADA test result. But he continues to ask those who support him not to engage in trolling Jones online.
“If you don’t like him and you don’t like what he did, he’s probably heard what you said,” Cormier said. “And if you want to show support for me, I get it. But, be positive with me and you don’t necessarily just have to pile on while this dude’s down in the dumps.”
Cormier isn’t absolving Jones for his alleged cheating. Far from it. But at the end of the day, he’d prefer the fans let the process play out.
“Look, I am by no means saying I’m okay with what he did,” Jones said. “I’m not, and it was not right, regardless of this — it comes out that this supplement was tainted or whatever the case is, it still was in the system the day of the fight or the day before the fight, and that’s unfair.
“But, at some point, you know the dude’s got to get up every day and deal with his kids and deal with his family. It’s hard, it’s hard when you’re down and people are kicking you, to deal with your family and put on a face. I’m still, my feelings have not changed, but, a little compassion goes a long way in those situations.”