For years, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has tried to market himself as one of the few role models in the industry, while his critics brand him as a “fake.”
There are many good reasons to criticize “Bones.”
The first major hit his goody-two-shoes image happened in May 2012 when Jones was arrested in New York for driving while intoxicated after he ran his virtually brand new Bentley into a pole. The fact there were two unidentified females with Jones, who was living with his fiancée (now wife) at the time, only made things look worse.
Still, the DUI was easy to forget given how inspiring Jones’ performances are every time he steps inside the Octagon, and the fact he’s a young man who is bound to make some poor decisions every now and then.
On Jan. 3, Jon Jones reminded us all why he’s considered the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, handing Daniel Cormier his first loss as a pro MMA fighter.
For a moment, it looked like Jones was on his way to a phenomenal year.
But… that’s not the case.
It turns out Jones failed an out of competition drug test, testing positive for benzoylecgonine, a cocaine metabolite.
To his credit, Jones quickly took control of the situation, announcing his decision to check into a rehab facility shortly after.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission doesn’t penalize athletes for recreational drugs when tested out of competition, so Jones doesn’t really have much to worry about as far as NSAC is concerned.
By quickly taking control of the situation, there isn’t much the UFC can do either but support Jones and put on a good public face.
On one hand, a 27-year-old successful person partying too hard isn’t particularly disturbing, but the fact Jones has now put himself in a negative situation once again is a bit concerning.
Sponsors and others who might be considering collaborating with Jones might be thinking the same thing.
Fortunately for Jones, his failed drug test will get him lots of attention, albeit negative, but like the saying goes, “there is no such thing as negative publicity.” Folks love a good redemption story, so if Jones plays his cards right, his failed drug test might end up being the best thing that has ever happened to him.
It’s highly unlikely Jones manages to hide a serious cocaine habit, while destroying the UFC’s light heavyweight roster, so smart money will be on Jones to clean his image up and remain at the top of the MMA food chain. Thus, it’s no surprise the UFC and Jones’ biggest sponsor, Reebok, are standing firmly behind their champion.
Still, Jon Jones has some maturing to do, and he needs to learn to keep himself of situations like these. It would be a shame to see his MMA career cut short because of poor decisions.
Jones managed to dodge a bullet this time around, but he might not be so lucky next time.
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.