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‘Disappointed’ Jon Jones breaks silence after DWI plea, admits ‘unhealthy relationship’ with alcohol

Jon Jones
Jon Jones listening to media questions at UFC 200 press luncheon.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones released a statement on Tuesday taking responsibility for the actions that led to his second arrest for driving under the influence.

Jones, 32, released the statement via rep Denise White after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors where he’ll serve four days of house arrest, one year of probation and meet other conditions to avoid jail time. The UFC light heavyweight champ said he will do “personal work” to address an “unhealthy relationship” with alcohol and thanked his supporters.

“While we all work to understand and cope with stress and uncertainties surrounding the current state of our world, I want to express how truly disappointed I am that I have become the source of a negative headline again, especially during these trying times,” Jones stated. “I am disappointed for letting down the people I care about the most, my family, friends and my fans. This morning I entered into a plea deal with the Albuquerque DA’s office. I accept full responsibility for my actions and I know that I have some personal work to do to which involves the unhealthy relationship I have with alcohol.

“I have dedicated so much time and energy to improve my community, and I will not allow this personal setback to hinder my work within the community when we need it most. I truly appreciate the support I have received from the community of Albuquerque and all my fans around the world. I very much look forward to putting this behind me. Thanks you all for your continued love and support and please take care of yourselves.”

Jones was arrested in the early morning hours of March 26 after police responded to the sound of a single gunshot in his adopted hometown downtown Albuquerque, N.M. Officers encountered Jones, who denied knowledge of a gun firing, and another individual near his Jeep. Jones said he was hanging out with a few homeless people, though he admitted to recently drinking. He then performed poorly on several sobriety tests, which were captured on the testing officer’s lapel video camera. Officers later found a .22 Glock handgun, a discharged shell casing that matched the weapon’s caliber and a half-empy bottle of Recuerdo mezcal.

Jones was charged with aggravated DWI, triggered when he tested over twice the legal blood-alcohol limit, negligent use of a firearm, possession of open container and driving without proof of insurance. All charges were misdemeanors, though he faced a mandatory 48 hours in jail and maximum of 90 days in jail with one year of probation if convicted. If charged as a second-time offender, which defense attorneys said was “likely,” he could be subject to a mandatory 90-day jail sentence with up to one year.

In a prepared statement, a spokesperson for the Bernalillo County District Attorney said the deal was struck because Jones quickly acknowledged responsibility for his actions and because of the extraordinary circumstances in play with the coronavirus pandemic. The spokesperson said Jones’ legal history would have been taken into consideration, and prosecutors would have recommended a court program for repeat drug offenders. But with the coronavirus pandemic, it was unclear whether the court was accepting any new offenders. An order of house arrest, meanwhile, was a response to concerns over community spread in the city’s jail system, where one recent positive for COVID-19 was found.

Jones will have to fulfill the terms of his plea agreement, which needs to be approved by a judge to be final, so he can avoid jail time. The UFC champ was expected to return to the cage later this year to defend his title against Jan Blachowicz or Dominick Reyes, whom he narrowly beat in February. But with the promotion forced to postpone three consecutive events due to the coronavirus, the timing of his return may change.

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