UFC's Jones charged after drunken episode, gun involved

Jon Jones (left) dodging Dominick Reyes' punch during their UFC 247 light heavyweight bout in Houston last month.
Jon Jones (left) dodging Dominick Reyes' punch during their UFC 247 light heavyweight bout in Houston last month.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ALBUQUERQUE (New Mexico) • Inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) octagon, Jon Jones has shown few weaknesses, amassing a record of 26 wins in 28 contests that stands up to the very best in the sport.

But it is outside the ring where the mixed martial arts (MMA) star has continued to display his fallibility.

Jones, long considered by UFC fans to be one of the best MMA exponents of his era and the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter alongside undefeated lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia, was arrested on Thursday.

Local police were responding to a call that gunshots were heard before they found the intoxicated 32-year-old in his car.

According to bodycam footage obtained by celebrity website TMZ on Saturday night, Jones told authorities he "got stir-crazy and wanted to have a drive".

He later failed a breathalyser test after reportedly being twice over the legal limit. Police also found a handgun that appeared to have been fired and a bottle of liquor.

The UFC light heavyweight champion has since been slapped with several charges including aggravated driving while intoxicated, negligent use of a firearm, possession of an open container and driving without insurance.

He is next due in court on April 8, but that has not stopped his manager, Malki Kawa, for railing against the media, who have taken the troubled American to task.

Referencing a USA Today opinion piece on Jones, he tweeted on Saturday that it was "a shame" and "one of the laziest pieces of journalism I've ever seen", and also slammed other commentaries as "click bait" and "rhetoric".

Kawa was supported by heavyweight fighter Francis Ngannou, who tweeted "people should not throw stones like we are all perfect". Other UFC fighters, including middleweight title-holder Israel Adesanya were, however, quick to berate Jones on social media.

While Jones, whose last fight was a unanimous decision victory over compatriot Dominick Reyes last month, has yet to officially comment on his latest arrest, this is the latest in a string of incidents to blight his career.

In 2012, Jones was arrested in New York for driving under the influence, and in 2015, he was again arrested following a hit-and-run incident that led to him put under 18 months of probation.

He has also failed two drug tests during his career with the UFC, resulting in him losing his belt, and last year was charged with battery of a waitress, of which he was given another probation sentence.

The UFC issued a statement, saying they were aware of the situation before adding "the organisation has been in contact with Jones' management team and is currently gathering information".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2020, with the headline 'UFC's Jones charged after drunken episode, gun involved'. Print Edition | Subscribe