Is the UFC allowing Jon Jones bad behavior or are the fans to blame?
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Jon Jones is without a doubt one of the best fighters in UFC history. The former UFC light heavyweight champion has been a part of the promotion for more than a decade. He has defeated greats like Daniel Cormier, Alexander Gustafsson, and Lyoto Machida. Outside of a disqualification in 2009, he never lost a fight.
For all his accomplishments, after his most recent legal problem, a domestic violence arrest, many UFC fans have called for Jon Jones to be released from the UFC entirely.
So should the UFC really wash its hands with Jon Jones at this stage due to his apparent inability to avoid trouble outside of the Octagon? If they refuse to do so, does that really reflect poorly on the promo or does it say more about UFC fans?
It is a question that is definitely worth asking yourself.
Jon Jones has gotten into trouble numerous times over the years.
For all his accomplishments in the UFC, it’s safe to say that Jon Jones has caused a lot of chaos outside of the Octagon over the years as well.
It was not always like this. Jones’s reputation in his early years with the UFC was impeccable. There was no real indication of his dark side before a fight with rival Daniel Cormier before their first clash at UFC 182.
However, after that fight, Jones tested positive for cocaine. Later in 2015, he became embroiled in controversy when he was involved in a hit-and-run incident in which his vehicle collided with a pregnant woman and fled the scene on foot. In the following years, Jon Jones and the controversy have gone hand in hand.
‘Bones’ has tested positive for banned substances three other times. He was also arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol twice. In 2019, he was hit with a battery charge after an incident with a waitress. Basically, then, his latest arrest for domestic violence is simply the tip of a seemingly growing iceberg of controversy and nasty incidents.
For all intents and purposes, it appears that Jon Jones – like Mike Tyson, Paul Gascoigne, and Tiger Woods – is among a long list of talented athletes who simply can’t help but get into trouble when they’re not competing.
Should Jon Jones’ recent arrest for domestic violence be the final straw for the UFC?
The big question on everyone’s lips since Jon Jones’ recent arrest is whether it will be enough to force the UFC to release him from his contract. Jones hasn’t fought in the UFC since his February 2020 win over Dominick Reyes. Nor has it been in the good books of the promotion in recent months.
A disputed move to the heavyweight division has basically been put on hiatus due to Jones and the UFC seemingly not on the same page when it comes to salary. However, it’s probably fair to say that due to his status as one of the UFC’s most proven cartoon cards, prior to his recent arrest, it would have been a huge surprise to see the promotion let him go anywhere. However, that could change after your most recent arrest.
The UFC has always claimed to have a zero tolerance policy towards domestic violence. In fact, the promotion released lightweight Luis Peña after a domestic violence incident earlier this week, while Thiago Silva was also released after a similar incident in 2014.
However, the promotion has also employed wrestlers like Greg Hardy and Cody East despite a checkered past involving domestic violence, which means that not everything is as black and white as it seems.
When it comes to Jon Jones, UFC president Dana White has stated that the former champion “could” be eliminated due to his recent arrest. However, the fact that his incident happened before Peña’s and has already been cut seems to suggest otherwise.
Why wouldn’t the UFC choose to cut ties with Jon Jones?
Simply put, the only reason the UFC wouldn’t want to remove Jon Jones from its roster after his recent arrest is money.
Jones is a major draw card for the promotion, with programs spearheaded by him regularly generating more than 500k pay-per-view purchases, bringing millions of dollars to the UFC.
Sure, the UFC doesn’t necessarily need Jones’ pulling power, as they have other fighters capable of pulling similar numbers. However, if they cut him, the danger would be that he would sign for a competitor like Bellator MMA and make a lot of money for them. Worse still, it could promote its own fights, which would likely encourage other stars like Conor McGregor to do the same, moving MMA further into boxing territory.
That, in turn, would loosen the hold the UFC has over the MMA industry. However, should fans really view the UFC as the bad guys in this situation if they choose to keep Jones on their roster and continue to promote him? Or should it be time for them to look in the mirror?
Are UFC fans indulging in Jon Jones and his bad behavior?
The simple equation here is that the UFC is unlikely to release Jon Jones as long as he is able to raise money for them or a competitor. However, the only way Jones can make money is by making sure fans pay to watch him fight.
That, in turn, should raise an important question. After all the nasty incidents he’s been involved in, topped off by his recent arrest for domestic violence, why would UFC fans want to pay to watch him fight?
Unfortunately, the same question could have been put to fans, particularly combat sports fans, on numerous occasions over the years.
Mike Tyson, for example, was jailed for rape in 1992. Somehow, that didn’t stop fans from putting down their money to see him. When he got out of jail, his fights with the likes of Frank Bruno, Evander Holyfield, and Lennox Lewis continued to bring in millions of dollars.
The same can be said for Floyd Mayweather, who continued to be the biggest draw in combat sports despite his 2012 conviction for domestic violence. Additionally, Conor McGregor remains the UFC’s biggest drawing card despite numerous legal issues.
Of course, it’s not up to the fans to change the behavior of athletes like Jones and Mayweather. Similarly, no one is forcing fans to pay to see them compete. If anything, it is hugely hypocritical for UFC fans to criticize the promotion for continuing to promote a fighter like Jon Jones, when many of those fans would still pay to see him fight if he did so for a rival promotion.
The UFC is in the business of promoting fighters and fights, but at the end of the day, the fans are the ones who decide, with their wallets, which fighters turn into great drawing cards. So if they really want the UFC to cut ties with a fighter like Jon Jones, they should simply vote with their wallets and refuse to pay money to watch him fight. If they did that, then the chances of the UFC releasing him would increase dramatically.
Of course, they could have done the same after Jones’ hit-and-run incident in 2015, but they chose not to.
Unfortunately, based on cases like Tyson and Mayweather, it would appear that while combat sports fans would love a promotion like the UFC to maintain a moral code and cut ties with any fighter involved in domestic violence, apparently not they believe in the situation. the same moral code should be applied to them.
So should the UFC be blamed for allowing Jones’ behavior out of the Octagon? Maybe. However, fans should also be willing to take their share of the blame.
Sport Top Stories World news Is the UFC allowing Jon Jones bad behavior or are the fans to blame?