If there was ever a time for the UFC to release Jon Jones, it’s right now, but UFC president Dana White doesn’t even seem willing to go there.
On Tuesday night, White was all too quick to recite the company line that we’ve heard time and time again after a high-profile UFC fighter is in trouble with the law.
“We’ll do what we always do,” White told reporters at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. “We’re very consistent in that we watch and see how this thing plays out legally and what happens, and then we’ll make a decision from there.”
Or has the decision already been made?
Last Friday, after Jones was arrested and charged with misdemeanor battery domestic violence and felony injuring and tampering with a vehicle, White rightfully laid into his former light heavyweight champion.
“It’s like it’s not even shocking anymore,” White said then. “When we bring him here, it’s almost expected. Can’t even get him into Las Vegas for less than 12 hours to induct him into the Hall of Fame. It’s a problem.”
At the time of that statement, all we knew about the situation were the charges. By Tuesday morning, we learned the troubling details in the Las Vegas Metro Police Department’s incident report, which stated that Jones left his fiancee, Jessie Moses, bloodied after allegedly assaulting her in a hotel room. What’s worse, it happened with their three children present after Jones returned from a night out at the strip club.
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Arresting Officer R. Boschetti wrote that he “observed blood all over Moses’ clothing and a bump with dried up blood on the lower part of her lip as if she was in a physical altercation.” Blood was also found on the bed sheets.
Perhaps the saddest moment in the three-page police report came from a security guard, who recalled a scared Moses approaching the security desk after she fled the room with her three children. According to the security guard, the youngest child asked, “Can you call the cops?”
For as great as Jones has been inside the octagon, he’s long been an embarrassment outside of it, with a rap sheet that goes back years, which includes a 2012 DWI after crashing his Bentley into a pole, a 2015 hit-and-run that injured a pregnant woman and a 2019 battery charge for allegedly slapping and groping a strip club waitress – and that doesn’t even cover half of it.
(We won’t even go into the repeated failed drug tests that have led to suspensions and stripped titles.)
But this latest arrest reaches a new low, and it makes you wonder if there’s even a line that can be crossed for star fighters to be disciplined by the UFC. Can they do no wrong? Why wouldn’t the UFC cut ties with Jones?
If it’s because of the revenue he generates, Jones hasn’t fought since March 2020 and therefore hasn’t been making the UFC money for 18 months, with no plan to return until 2022. White’s always bragging about the promotion’s financial success, which has continued during Jones’ inactivity, so what exactly would the UFC lose without him?
If it’s because the UFC is worried about a competitor signing Jones, there’s not much Bellator could do in terms of matchmaking to hurt the UFC, and Jones is beyond joining the PFL to fight for a $1 million prize. Would it even matter if he competed for Rizin FF or ONE Championship in Asia?
If it’s because Jones could cross over to boxing, who cares? It’s boxing.
The truth is, all of those things probably matter to White. Being the businessman that he is, White cares most about the money, otherwise there’s nothing to justify keeping Jones on the roster at this point – not after all of the second chances he’s been given.
And it’s not as if Jones has shown any level of remorse, let alone taken responsibility for his actions, instead painting himself as a victim of the devil’s actions. Jones doesn’t appear to have learned any lessons from this latest horrific incident, so what’s to stop something similar from happening again? It might even be inevitable.
Jones will have his day in court, but there’s no reason to even wait. When asked by MMA Junkie’s John Morgan if he would consider releasing Jones, the best White could do was deflect. With knowledge of the harrowing details of that police report, this is what White had to say:
“I got 650 guys … there’s sh*t that goes on here every day. It’s the fight business, man. Every day we got stuff going on, stuff that you don’t know about that we deal with on a daily basis. You guys just hear about the sh*t that ends up in the media. So, it’s what we do. We’ll see how this thing plays out legally with him, and we’ll go from there.”
An answer like that after a situation like this? It’s like it’s not even shocking anymore.
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Photos: Jon Jones through the years
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