By Rahul Lal
Jon Jones, commonly known as “Bones” Jones, is one of the UFC’s most talented fighters and was set to headline this weekend’s UFC 200 event in a title unification bout against Daniel Cormier. News broke that the fight had been called off late Wednesday night. This was the second fight in UFC 200’s highly anticipated card to be cancelled along with Conor McGregor’s bout with Nate Diaz.
Jones is considered one of the most controversial figures in sports and has displayed this over the years whether it be clashes with the law or getting into hot water over alleged social media use.
Here’s a list of his five worst mishaps over the years:
While more information is still being announced, Jones, the interim UFC light heavyweight champion, was pulled from his upcoming title unification fight on potential doping violations as conducted by the USADA.
UFC officials along with president Dana White spoke last night at the MGM Grand Hotel and announced the news as well as the decision. Though specific infomation is scarce, Jones tested positive for a banned substance on June 16.
If it is released that Jones was taking performance-enhancing drugs, he would be eligible for a two-year suspension under the UFC’s anti-doping program.
“It is important to note that under the UFC anti-doping policy, there’s a full, fair legal-review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed,” said Jeff Novitzky, UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance.
White maintained that Jones will have the chance “to prove himself innocent” but also added in that there wouldn’t be enough time to conduct an investigation prior to this weekend’s fight.
Jones spoke to the media today issuing an apology and assured his fans of his intention to keep fighting. He got very emotional during the press conference and had to walk out briefly before returning to eventually finish it. He stated that he got very emotional about his public perception and the idea that he is thought of as a cheater.
This week wasn’t the first time Jones has tested positive for a banned substance. In late 2014, Jones tested positive for cocaine before UFC 182 though he wasn’t made aware of his test results until two days after the fight had concluded.
“I definitely don’t have an excuse. I’m not here to make excuses for what happened,” Jones said. “I did it, basically at a party. I think a coward would sit here and try to come up with this elaborate reason or to try to blame something, and I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to blame friends or blame pressure or stress. I’m not going to blame anything. But what I will say is that, I messed up. It wasn’t a mistake. I can’t call it a mistake necessarily, because I consciously did it.”
Jones fought Cormier in UFC 182, the same opponent he was slated to fight in UFC 200, and won to extend his streak of eight straight light heavyweight title defenses.
Jones revealed that he “dibbed and dabbed a little bit” when it came to recreational use of cocaine in college but never allowed it to become a habit.
“The night I did it, I was just, there’s no excuse. I really don’t know what came over me or what decide to make such a poor choice, but I did, and now I live with it,” said Jones.
Following the test results, Jones checked himself into a rehabilitation center but only stayed for one night.
“Me going to rehab was, I would say it was a collective decision between myself and some of my business partners,” he said. “I went to a rehab facility and I did a 24-hour evaluation, where I spoke to three doctors for almost seven hours. We talked about drugs and the role they’ve played in my life and my upbringing. They came to the conclusion that I didn’t need in-patient treatment, so they put me in an out-patient house.”
Jones made a total $500,000 prize from the fight and was fined $25,000 for violating the UFC’s Code of Conduct policy.
In April 2015, just months after the cocaine incident, Jones turned himself into New Mexico police after being allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident with a pregnant woman.
Jones eventually plead guilty to the hit-and-run and was sentenced to 18 months of probation as opposed to a jail sentence. Police found documents identifying Jones to be the owner of the fled vehicle along with a marijuana pipe.
“I’m here to accept full responsibility for what happened, for my actions and I’m really hoping you guys can give me an opportunity to redeem myself,” said Jones in a statement. “I have been working hard during this time, away from my sport, to grow and mature as a man and to ensure that nothing like this happens again. I have learned a great deal from this situation and I am determined to emerge a better person because of it.”
Jones was slated to defend his title against Anthony Johnson in May 2015 but was suspended for his involvement in the hit-and-run and would consequently have his light heavyweight title stripped. Nearly six months later, Jones would be reinstated but would not regain his title upon activation.
Earlier in Jones’ career, he was arrested for driving under the influence. In May 2012, the fighter was found drunk in his totaled Bentley after driving drunk.
Shortly after 5 am, Jones had crashed his car into a pole suffering minor injuries. Jones would wind up spending some time in police custody before eventually being released into his mother’s custody.
Jones issued a statement for his fans shortly after:
“I’m truly sorry to those of you that I may have embarrassed in any way, to those of you with kids that I may have let down. I will prove to them as well as to myself, that no matter what is happening in life, we can always work our way back and make things even better than before. Reading you guys uplifting comments was a great reminder for me to not give up on who I am or all the hateful people. I’m not gonna allow this situation to outweigh the positive. I love you guys right back and I promise to make things right. PS sorry about the terrible grammar :)”
While he didn’t face any disciplinary action from the UFC in this situation, Jones was just beginning to pave the slippery slope he is still riding today.
In April 2014, Jones’ instagram account was allegedly hacked after he had his phone stolen. The result was numerous homophobic slurs on random individual’s accounts.
While both he and his manager claim it wasn’t him, Jones uploaded a photo just after the comments were made begging the question of whether Jones was actually hacked or slipped up and posted inappropriate comments.
Due to suspensions and cancelled fights, Jones has historically left large amounts of money on the table as well as his cherished light heavyweight title. UFC and the USADA plans to release more information about Jones’ failed test in the coming days.
Rahul Lal is an LA native stuck in a lifelong, love-hate relationship with the Lakers, Dodgers and Raiders. You can follow him on Twitter here.