5 of the worst moments in the career of Jon Jones

HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 08: Jon Jones celebrates his victory over Dominick Reyes in their light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 247 event at Toyota Center on February 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - FEBRUARY 08: Jon Jones celebrates his victory over Dominick Reyes in their light heavyweight championship bout during the UFC 247 event at Toyota Center on February 08, 2020 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) /

Jon Jones’ latest arrest serves as a reminder that, despite his recent efforts to clean up his image, he’s had an unlawful and controversial nature.

“Some people never change” is probably a phrase that went through the heads of plenty in the MMA community upon reading about UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ arrest early this morning.

Jones was arrested early in the morning on Thursday, March 26, for aggravated DWI and negligent use of a firearm, as well as possession of an open container and driving with no proof of insurance.

It’s far from the first time Jones has had run-ins with the law, and it’s far from the first time a negative light has been shined on him. For years now, it’s seemed Jones’ biggest enemy — the one opponent he can’t conquer — is himself.

Here are five of those Jones moments:

5. The 2012 DUI arrest

One of the earliest memories of controversy and out-of-the-Octagon issues in Jones’ way came back on the morning of May 19, 2012. Jones hit a pole with his Bentley Continental GT in Binghamton, New York. Jones pled guilty to DUI charges, paid a $1,000 fine, and had his license suspended for six months. Despite his apologies, plenty in the MMA community criticized him for this moment. It would not be Jones’ only vehicular-related incident (there also was that time in 2016 he was pulled over on suspicion of drag racing and called an officer a “pig” and…well, another incident later in this list) — and Jones in-cage career didn’t suffer because of it. But it would mark the start of a plague of controversies for the JacksonWink product.

4. The UFC 151 cancelation

Jones was originally slated to defend the UFC light heavyweight championship against Dan Henderson in the main event of UFC 151 on Sept. 1, 2012. But on Aug. 23, 2012, UFC President Dana White stunned the MMA world when he announced Henderson — despite his best attempts to work through the pain for three weeks — had suffered a tear in his MCL and UFC 151 would be the first event in the promotion’s history to be canceled.

During that press conference call where he made the announcement, White went on a major tirade against Jones and coach Greg Jackson, considering them killers of the sport, and revealing that Jones and his team turned down a fight with Chael Sonnen, who was ready to step in on eight days’ notice. Not all agreed on Jones and Jackson taking the blame — some pointed to Henderson’s wait, others to the UFC’s increasing in events causing less available fighters — it’s without a doubt Jones’ image took yet another hit in 2012 with this event.

3. 2016 failed drug test, removal from UFC 200

Jones’ failed drug test prior to UFC 200 was not his first — he had tested positive for a cocaine metabolite prior to UFC 182 (though the test result wasn’t revealed until after the card) — but it without a doubt left a big impact on the UFC, let alone Jones himself.

UFC 200 was scheduled to be headlined by Jones, the then-UFC interim light heavyweight champion, taking on nemesis and then-undisputed champion Daniel Cormier in a rematch. With a card also featuring Brock Lesnar’s return, a women’s bantamweight title fight and interim featherweight title fight, it looked like the most stacked UFC pay-per-view of all time. But everything took a major detour when just a few days before the event, it was announced Jones was off the card after testing positive for the banned substances clomiphene and letrozole.

Jones maintained his innocence and claimed Cialis he had taken was contaminated. Ultimately, the product was contaminated and Jones only served a one-year suspension, but with this planned rebound from 2015 ultimately failing, there were even more doubters on Jones’ character and future.

2. UFC 214: Another failed test leaves Jones’ career uncertain

With Jones’ suspension from UFC 200 over, the rematch with Cormier was finally set and took place in July 2017 at UFC 214. At that event, Jones managed to finish off Cormier and win back the UFC light heavyweight championship. Jones was emotional in the Octagon, promising fans he had turned a new leaf and would not be a let-down again. He then got plenty of people riled and hyped up by calling out Lesnar.

And then, it happened…again. Jones had failed yet another drug test. This time, Jones tested positive for the anabolic steroid Turinabol. As a result, his knockout win over Cormier was overturned and the belt was awarded back to DC. Jones’ championship win and all the hype and hope that came with it had been nullified.

Jones once again claimed tainted substances, but with this being yet another failed test and his controversial history — and USADA not making a decision on him for months — plenty thought perhaps he would get a major suspension (he was facing up to four years) and this is how Jones’ UFC tenure was going to end. Alas, by giving “provisional assistance” to USADA and another determination of lack of intent to cheat on Jones’ part, he was given a retroactive 15-month ban in late 2018, allowing him to return and reclaim the light heavyweight crown at UFC 232…after that event got more to California on days notice after the discovery of Jones’ pulsing effect of the Turinabol from 2017.

1. The 2015 hit-and-run incident

While all those moments were bad, they are perhaps more criticized because of a 2015 moment that plummeted Jones’ popularity and public image. On April 27, 2015, Jones was arrested for fleeing the scene of an accident after colliding his car with two others, including one of a pregnant woman, in New Mexico. A marijuana pipe was also found in Jones’ vehicle.

The next day, Jones was suspended indefinitely by the UFC and stripped of the UFC light heavyweight championship. The young man who took the MMA world by storm, seemed unbeatable (minus that one DQ) on the way to success and a man who handled all challengers that came his way. That long reign was ended not in the Octagon, but with him stripped because of his actions.

Jones has had reign over the UFC light heavyweight division for most of the last decade, but this incident was an interruption and downfall in which Jones could blame nobody but himself. And with his controversial history, this moment stands out as the example that proves why Jones’ most difficult opponent — his weakness, his kryptonite — is himself.

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