Earlier this month at the UFC’s “Unstoppable” press conference in Las Vegas, Jon Jones (pictured) faced the firing squad for the first time since April’s felony hit-and-run arrest where where marijuana paraphernalia was found in his abandoned rental car and a pregnant motorist suffered a broken arm.
It was the latest blemish on Jones’ rapidly expanding rap sheet. The only difference was that this time, it temporarily cost the troubled 29-year-old his job with the UFC, his light heavyweight throne and Reebok sponsorship.
However, much like in his other incidences, which includes a 2011 citation for driving without a license, 2012’s DUI arrest for wrapping his $190,000 Bentley GT around a telephone pole after a late night of partying with two females (neither of whom were the mother of his three daughters) and a positive cocaine test only weeks before last January’s successful title defense against Daniel Cormier, Jones declared that he had learned from his mistake and would emerge a better human being.
“Everyone’s life, we’re all on different journeys. Some people mature faster than others. Sometimes it takes people a few more mistakes to realize what they have and what they’re messing up,” Jones said at March’s presser. “For me, I felt as if this last situation really brought me to my knees. I lost respect nationwide. I lost my endorsements. I lost my job. I lost so much. For me this was rock bottom. So, for me, over the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to kinda be alone and work on my character outside of being an athlete.
“I’m a little bit of a knucklehead behind the wheel, and that’s something that I’m realizing and that I’m working on. So I’m sorry about that, guys.”
Yeah, about that whole knucklehead thing…
Just two months ago, Jones was cited for driving without a license, registration and insurance. It’s nothing compared to his DUI and hit-and-run charges, but you have to wonder why a person who’s on probation wouldn’t live a more legally conscious lifestyle?
And then yesterday’s disturbing video of Jones’ heated and disrespectful argument with a police officer who pulled him over for allegedly drag racing hit the Internet. While Jones vehemently denied any wrongdoing in last week’s incident, he was still cited for drag racing, exhibition driving, weaving, failing to properly display his license, and modifying his exhaust pipe on his Corvette.
What’s troubling isn’t the fact that Jones was pulled over, it was his behavior towards the police officer that has many wondering if he has actually learned anything from his past mistakes.
Before berating the combative cop, Jones wanted to make sure the officer’s camera vest was recording their heated exchange. I’m not sure why, most people wouldn’t want it to be known that they talk to authority figures using language like, “You are an absolute f**king liar,” “I can’t wait for you to get out of my face,” “You’re despicable,” “Pig, you disgust me,” but that’s the real Jon Jones, I guess. It’s certainly not the Christian Jon Jones that he portrays himself to be to the public.
It reminds me of the 2014 brawl he and Cormier had in the MGM Grand lobby, where Jones’ two sides were on full display. Jones and Cormier appeared on SportsCenter immediately after to discuss the melee, where an articulate Jones presented himself to be very remorseful about the impromptu brawl. Then, when Jones thought the cameras and mics were off, he asked Cormier, “Hey, pussy. You still there?”
Jones says the politically correct things to the public, then behaves the compete opposite when he thinks nobody’s looking. It’s gotten to the point where his apologies carry no weight, they’re just words Jones spews because he thinks that’s what we want to hear.
Jones isn’t the first professional athlete to think he’s invincible and above the law, and he certainly won’t be the last. Which is fine, when you perform in front of millions of people with millions of dollars at stake, it’s understandable that a fighter needs to enter a different state of mind to achieve greatness.
However, when going to that invincible mindset causes you to behave recklessly and endanger the lives of innocent people, that’s another story.
There’s no denying the devastation Jones causes inside the cage, where he’s the most unstoppable force in MMA and will likely go down as the game’s GOAT when it’s all said and done, it’s the damage he’s doing outside of it that’s truly disturbing.
It’s terrifying to think what it will actually take for Jones to finally understand that there are serious consequences, which others might have to pay for, for his actions in the real world. Perhaps we’ll have to wait for his next apology to find out.
(UPDATED 3/29/16 at 1:40PM PT)
Jones was arrested for violating his parole following drag racing ticket.