Fame, money and the success that comes along with that fairy tale lifestyle may seem glamorous from the outside, but I’m sure that one 24-year-old New Yorker is questioning all of that at the moment.

Over the weekend, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones made the now well-publicized decision to get behind the wheel of his Bentley and drive drunk. Turns out that decision led him to the one thing that was able to at least temporarily derail his so far illustrious career: a pole.

As far as any action the UFC—or more importantly the law—may take, only time will tell. Every fan has an opinion on what should be done, how this will affect his career or his “poster boy” status within the promotion. Fortunately for Jones, that’s not for the fans to decide.

Rather than calling for his head, or making any, of what seems to be a million, accusations regarding the champ’s character, let’s focus on what comes with being 24 years old and the face of the fastest growing sport on the planet.

Whether we are athletes, lawyers, writers, students or anything else, our end goal is always to be successful in all of our endeavors. Sure the money, the cars, the clothes and all of the other benefits that can be attributed to our successes are great. In Jones’ and many other superstar athletes’ cases, it’s nothing short of surreal.

At a young age these young men are thrust into a spotlight and expected by their bosses, their bosses’ bosses, their teammates, the fans, their families etc. to be super human in everything that they do, often overlooking that if not for their athletic ability they’d be barely out of college—or even in some cases, high school. These men are human, they are going to make mistakes. Every move they make is made underneath a microscope with the world waiting to judge and prove, to no one other than themselves, that these guys are in fact just like the rest of us.

Under no circumstances am I making excuses for Jones. Quite the opposite, actually. He does need to be punished, not only by the law, but by the UFC as well. Just because he is an athlete does not grant him permission to live above the law. He needs to be held accountable not only by the Binghamton, N.Y., police department, but by his employer.

It wasn’t long ago that Jones was quoted as saying he’d never do anything to embarrass the UFC. Well, Jon, you just did. The promotion has gone above and beyond promoting him, his skills and his character as a great role model. After all the time and effort that has been put into building his brand, he’s let everyone involved down.

When you make the choice to have any sort of role under the spotlight, you may not want to be a role model, but it comes with the territory. No one forced Jon Jones to be a world champion mixed martial artist. He chose his profession, therefore choosing to be held to a higher standard and to live his life in the public eye. It’s his job to live up to those standards, especially when he preaches about his integrity and willingness to be a role model.

Most of us that are of legal drinking age have had a drink in our lives, and Jones did nothing wrong in having a drink. Where he went wrong was deciding to drive after having those drinks. Luckily for Jones, and for the UFC—especially in their battle to legalize MMA in New York—he hit a pole and not another car or a person. No one was injured, but that doesn’t make it any better.

If you want to live life like the proverbial rock star, go ahead and do it. But as we all know rock stars certainly have the means to afford a cab home. What may have cost Jones $20 or more for that cab, likely cost him a whole lot more. He needs to live with that. He needs to make changes within himself and possibly even amongst those that allowed him to get behind the wheel knowing full well what was at stake.

All fairy tales encounter a villain somewhere along the way. Let’s hope that the pole was the villain in the young champion’s story and when it ends, he will have lived happily—and successfully—ever after.

Photo: Jon Jones (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

About The Author

Paige Berger

Relatively new to the sport of MMA, Paige is a life long athlete. She attended the National Sports Academy in Lake Placid, N.Y., where she was a pioneer member of the women's ice hockey program. She also excelled in softball and soccer before deciding to focus on hockey. Born and raised in New York, she is an avid Yankees fan. Currently residing in Las Vegas, a move she made after falling in love with MMA while training at the American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif., she is currently studying public relations and advertising at UNLV.