Jon Jones: A tale of talent vs. character

There is probably no bigger fan of the current UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones than I am. His in-ring skills are second to none, as he has compiled a 26-1-0-1 record inside the Octagon. Jones’ last fifteen fights have ALL been title fights, but his biggest fight seems to be outside the cage. He was recently arrested in his home state of New Mexico, again.

His legal woes are as follows:

  • Jon has been arrested four times since 2012. He was arrested for DUI in Binghampton, NY (2012) and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine. His license was suspended for six months.
  • On April 27, 2015 (Albuquerque, NM), he was involved in his most significant issue when he was involved with a hit and run, leaving an injured pregnant woman behind in another vehicle. Police found a pipe with marijuana inside of it, but the worst part of this is Jones then returned to the scene to grab cash from the vehicle before fleeing again. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was subsequently sentenced to up to 18 months of supervised probation. He was stripped of his title.
  • On July 21, 2019, it was reported that Jones was involved in an incident (April 2019 in Albuquerque) with a cocktail waitress. The waitress claimed Jones slapped her, put her in a choke hold, kissed and groped her. Jones pleaded no contest and received a 90-day deferred sentence.
  • The morning of March 26, 2020 he was arrested for aggravated DWI, negligent use of a firearm, possession of an open container, and driving with no proof of insurance. An Albuquerque Police Officer heard what sounded to be a gunshot and the officer then observed a black Jeep with Jones driving with a black handgun underneath the driver’s seat. Jones would then fail a field sobriety test with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit. Jones once again pleaded guilty (accepting a plea deal in which the other charges would be dropped), sentenced to four days house arrest, one-year supervised probation, 90 days of outpatient therapy and 48 hours community service.
  • Jones has also been suspended three times, once by the UFC and twice by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

There is no debate Jones is a great competitor, but it seems that when he isn’t training for a fight, he finds himself fighting the law. It also appears Jones doesn’t know how to handle his free time. As fans, we want athletes to be great, but we also want them to be great citizens.

Detractors would say he is bad for the sport and supporters will say he is human, and we all make mistakes. Detractors will call for him to be stripped of his title and supporters will claim his out-of-cage behavior should not have anything to do with what he accomplished inside the cage.

He is immensely talented as a fighter, but he falls short as a citizen. Like John C. Maxwell said, “talent is a gift, but character is a choice.” I believe Jon can be the most talented fighter in UFC history, but his character needs to rival his talent.

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