The UFC was dealt a devastating public relations blow today. TMZ.com was the first to report that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was arrested for DUI after totaling his Bentley in upstate New York.
The news broke Saturday afternoon after TMZ sent out a press release publicizing the story. It wasn’t long thereafter when the MMA media and websites began picking up on the story. Even the mainstream media got into the act such as ESPN who posted the story on the front of their website. Hey, maybe Dana White will think twice the next time he complains that the UFC doesn’t get enough coverage on ESPN.
“Law enforcement sources tell TMZ … Jones was involved in an accident at around 5:00 AM in Binghamton, NY. We’re told the car — which Jones crashed into a pole — was totaled and cops arrested Jones on the scene for DUI.
According to our sources, Jones was taken into custody by Broome County Sheriff and bailed out a few hours later … by his mom. Jones is from nearby Ithaca. ”
TMZ also points out that Jones starred in a video going through police training with the same department that arrested. Ouch! But wait, if you thought the irony ended there you are sadly mistaken my friends.
USAToday.com also posted the story on their website. USAToday.com also included a quote from Jones not that long ago that Bones is probably regretting he said today.
“I’m very comfortable with the UFC putting me out there and trying to use me as one of the guys to promote the sport and bring it to a new level,” Jones told USA TODAY last month. “I think if I was a knucklehead and I was a guy who you would have to worry about getting a DWI or going out and doing something really stupid, they simply wouldn’t promote me. I think they see the guy that I am and they trust that, even though I’m a 24-year-old, I’m a trustworthy 24-year-old.”
Ouch again! Here is the big problem with this mistake. Jones is 24 years old and made a mistake. The problem is the way Jones carries himself and the way the UFC promotes him. He is constantly preaching about being a role model and Christianity to the point that some have resented him. Now you have a situation where the guy comes off looking like a complete phony.
Wait, haven’t we heard that before? Yes that is right. Jones’ recent victim Rashad Evans just spent the last three months calling Jones exactly that. Evans continuously told the media that Jones is fake and a phony. Whether Evans was just trying to sell a fight or expose Jones for his double standards, I have to think that a lot of the blowback that Jones and the UFC will come out of the things Evans said leading up to their fight.
Jones will wind up his worst enemy here. There are a lot of people poking fun at him today thanks to the sanctimonious and judgmental things he has said in the media. Here is another snippet from a 2009 interview with Sherdog.com that is making the rounds today.
“I’ve always been a person who tries to do the right thing in life, for the most part,” said Jones. “I’m no angel, but I was always the kid who snitched on the kids who had pot. I don’t want to offend the pot smokers out there, but I was kind of just a snitch. I was just down for people doing the right thing. My parents kind of raised me to be a good guy. I’ve always been down for the good side, I guess.”
Finally I think it is a real shame that it took TMZ to break this story as opposed to paid members of the MMA media that cover the sport as reporters and journalists. I have been hard on MMA reporters in the past for failing to break stories and here we go again. I’d suspect that there are a lot of editors asking their “crack journalists” these same questions.