Sports

Has Jon Jones Totaled His Franchise Beyond Repair?

It could take years to craft an image and only seconds to ruin it. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is on pace to set a record after being arrested for DUI, a terrible attempt at an apology, and a glimpse into the past of the man Rashad Evans’ warned us about.

By now you all know that Jones was arrested last weekend on DUI after totaling his Bentley in New York. The facts haven’t all come out such as what his levels were but I am assuming you have to be pretty messed up to total your car. Any other UFC fighter who did this would have gotten some attention and maybe a few critics. But Jon Jones is not just any other UFC fighter.

It wasn’t long after the news broke that many MMA fans had a field day picking apart the public image that Jones has successfully crafted over the last year. The media also got in on the fun by going back and reprinting quotes from Jones that painted Jones as the phony Evans told the world about for three months. Unfortunately for Jones he made it very easy to criticize him with his sanctimonious attitude and preachy lifestyle.

Everyone makes mistakes and it wasn’t the end for Jones. His manager asked us to wait for Jones to explain before we pass judgment. Guess what? It’s time to judge. Most expected Jones to come out with a humble apology, maybe even going to rehab as an attempt to repair his image and clean up his act.  Instead, Jones posted an “apology” on his Facebook wall (which has since been removed) that exposed the man he really is and showed us a side of immaturity that you probably should expect from a 24-year old that shot to stardom in just over a year.

Man I haven’t added anyone new to my Facebook page in like three years and right now I’m so glad that I haven’t. It has literally been sickening to have so many people try to kick me while I’m down. At the same time, I totally understand, I gave them the leeway to. I screwed up, big time. Just needed to say thank you to all you guys for being amazing friends/supporters.

Always having to deal with so many critics, haters and fickle mma fans, I almost forgot how strong of a home base I had (607 and people that knew me before I was a champion fighter). Although the hell that will come with this hasn’t even started yet, I want you guys to know how much better you’ve all made me feel, not only about this situation but about life, everything. It’s good to feel that people are there and care. With that being said, I felt I should apologize to you first.

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 : ) (no kidding)”

Where do I begin? Nowhere in that statement did I read Jones apologize to the people he put at risk by drinking and driving. Saying he “screwed up big time” is nice, but offering no introspective as to why is just arrogant. Attacking your haters? Jones can thank himself for that. Nobody would be attacking Jones if he didn’t spend the last year preaching about being a role model. Jones isn’t the first UFC fighter to make this kind of mistake.

The very first thing on Jones’ mind is the critics. What Jones doesn’t understand is that the MMA community is not looking to tear its fighters down. Take Chris Leben for example. Leben has screwed up more than anyone yet he remains one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. Here is a man that could have killed a family due and yet the first thing he does is take a shot at critics?

It didn’t end there. It was reported that Jones was actually stopped this past November for driving on a revoked license. Jones was stopped after “flying around the corner,” yet again a case where his lack of judgment could have killed someone. The cops followed Jones into the parking lot of a “fully nude club”, ran his license, and it came up suspended. Chargers were dropped but that still doesn’t answer a few questions. Why was it suspended? What was he thinking? Do you feel any less sorry for a guy that has had driving issues in the past yet puts himself out there as a role model and Bible thumper?

Finally and this is a really touchy topic here so I’ll tread lightly. A sixteen-year old girl posted pictures of herself with Jones on Twitter and a picture of her driving Jones’ Bentley with the champion inside. You can draw your own conclusions on this one but as many have said but whatever the case is, this is just an absolute lack of judgment. Here is a man who proclaims himself to be a big family man, again preaching religion, yet is running around with a sixteen-year old girl and letting her drive his car? This girl is also doing Jones no favors by continuing to tweet on it and engage in some fairly low level conversations on a couple of MMA forums. What do you think Dana White was thinking the first time he saw a picture of a sixteen-year old girl driving Jones’ Bentley with his UFC champion in the front seat?

Are you really that surprised? I can’t say that I am. Jones showed his true colors in my opinion by back stabbing his friend and training partner when he accepted the fight with Rashad Evans after allegedly telling Evans that he wouldn’t. It isn’t accepting the fight that is the problem but the way he went about it. Jones comes from a family of professional athletes. There has to be a degree of arrogance that comes along with that. It is also incredibly hard to believe that someone who achieved so much, so fast, so young could remain humble. You have to wonder how much more is out there about Jones that is still uncovered. It took MMA reporters six months to report on the November 2011 stopping. What happens if they keep digging? Would any of this even come out if Jones was just stopped in New York with no evidence of a totaled car?

The bottom line here is that while Jones did make a mistake, I think we are starting to see the real Jon Jones unravel. Jon Jones is not the role model of moral compass that he brags to be. Jon Jones is an immature, arrogant athlete who just doesn’t get it. Will this stop anyone from buying Jones’ fights? Not at all, but the franchise will never be the same and the UFC nor Jon Jones can blame anyone else for this other than Jon Bones Jones.

UFC: Best of 2011 DVD

UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans

UFC shirts and videos on Amazon.com

Introducing the Official UFC Apparel of Jon Jones! Walkout Shirt & Performance Gear.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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