He’s baaaaack! On Friday, the UFC formally reinstated former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (pictured). Jones was striped of his title and issued a temporary suspension after April’s felony hit-and-run arrest where a pregnant motorist suffered a broken arm.
Last month, Jones pled guilty in an Albuquerque courtroom to one count of leaving the scene of an accident, a fourth degree felony. He was handed 18-months probation and ordered to make 72 appearances for charity or youth outreach.
It was only a matter of time before the UFC reinstated the most decorated light heavyweight champ in company history, but they needed to have their legal team review the terms on Jones’ plea deal before allowing the troubled 28-year-old back into the cage.
“Following a review of the plea agreement reached by Jon Jones and officials in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the judge’s decision, UFC announced today the formal reinstatement of Jones to the UFC roster,” the UFC expressed in a statement. “Effectively immediately, Jones is eligible to return to competition. As such, UFC expects Jones to meet all of the terms of his plea agreement, including mandatory community service, as a condition of his reinstatement.”
Of course, this wasn’t Jones’ first incident behind the wheel. “Bones” was arrested in May 2012 for driving while intoxicated in New York after wrapping his $190,000 Bentley around a telephone pole. After pleading guilty, Jones was fined $1,000 and had his driver’s license suspended for six months.
Jones also tested positive for traces of cocaine prior to January’s UFC 182 victory over Daniel Cormier. Jones claimed he didn’t have a cocaine issue, but “dipped and dabbed” in various illegal substances during his college years.
Knowing that Jones has acted as though he’s above the law in the past, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta wanted to let his controversial superstar know that he is not entitled to anything and he should behave accordingly.
“We’ve made it clear to Jon that this new opportunity to compete in UFC is a privilege and not a right, and that there are significant expectations we have regarding his conduct moving forward,” said Fertitta. “We’re happy to read and see reports that he has embraced the terms of his plea agreement and is using this experience to grow and develop as a person.”
Jones appears to understand that there are consequences for his actions, but then again, he’s said the right things before and done the opposite.
“I am thankful to be able to do what I love once again and I look forward to proving myself as a champion in and outside of the Octagon,” Jones said.
It is unknown when Jones will return to action. However, there is no reason to believe he won’t get an immediate crack to reclaim his throne from Daniel Cormier, who captured Jones’ vacated belt by beating Anthony Johnson in May. Cormier made his first title defense by taking a decision over Alexander Gustafsson earlier this month.
Jones dominated Cormier this past January in the most anticipated light heavyweight bout in UFC history.
Jones owns a 21-1 professional record and is perfect through his last 12 outings. He is the game’s most dominant fighter this side of Ronda Rousey.