How many second chances will Jon “Bones” Jones get from the UFC?

It seems as though the phenomenal ex-champion just can’t stay out of trouble. Sure, there’s some controversy around his last issue, as there are some who feel he was baited by the police officer who stopped him. But it was Jones who continued the banter, and one could argue that it was he who made the situation a lot worse than it should have been.

Regardless of right or wrong when it comes to how Jones and the cop spoke to each other, Jones was still in the wrong, and he was busted for it. It wasn’t a major offense yet it was still a probation violation, and one would think that after all the legal hassles that Jones has been through in the last year or so that perhaps he might think it best to abide by the rules of his probation to avoid any further issues.

But nope. Jones doesn’t care. So why does the UFC still care about him?

If Jones was in the NFL, NHL, or NBA, he would probably have been slapped with a lengthy suspension by now. He is a superb fighter, an immense talent, and by some accounts, worthy of consideration as the GOAT.

He’s already been stripped of his UFC title once. The message evidently didn’t get through.

He left a rehab clinic after one day. He didn’t get the value of that program.

He continues to drive recklessly. He doesn’t get the fact that he almost killed someone.

He’s been behind bars. He doesn’t get that more mistakes will get you sent back.

Jones’ air of superiority inside the cage is understandable. Those athletic gifts are truly amazing. But the way he thumbs his nose at the rules of the road and the criminal justice system in general like he does smacks of downright disdain and disregard. It has that “Don’t you know who I am?” feel to it.

So if you’re the UFC, what should you do? The organization’s current path seems to be more apathetic now than it was when he first caused his own legal problems. There hasn’t been the dropping of the hammer. There was very little talk about his highly anticipated rematch with Daniel Cormier being in jeopardy when all this went down. The UFC didn’t appear to be sweeping it under a rug, but there was a sense that if nothing else, the vacuum had started to pick up the crumbs.

Even after his first significant run-in with the law, Jones was never in real danger of being cut. He was stripped of his title but that’s as harsh as the punishment got from his employer. There was no risk of pink slip because the UFC would be giving up a massive talent – its best overall athlete. The talent was too big to lose even if the talent had lost it – again.

And now they need him more than ever.

With Daniel Cormier bowing out of their rematch, Jones will face Ovince St. Preux, who is hardly a household name or even one of the more impactful names that casual fans would recognize.

Wouldn’t it be something rather poetic, though, if OSP is able to take Jones out? He’ll be a substantial underdog, of that there is no doubt, but St. Preux could actually provide a stern challenge if for no other reason than he is comparable in many ways (better, some might argue) to the only other fighter who has really given Jones a rough road – Alexander Gustafsson.

Like Jones, St. Preux is long and lean and an all-around athlete. Gustafsson gave Jones all he could handle because he matched up well in size, athleticism, and game plan. St. Preux would be wise to copy and paste as much as he can from the Swede’s playbook.

St. Preux was certainly not the first choice for the UFC to fill the last-minute injury gap as he’s yet to beat an elite-level and in-his-prime opponent. But it’s these types of situations that lead to the greatest upsets, and Jones, thanks to his dubious lifestyle choices, is definitely ripe to be plucked.

 

About The Author

Scott Zerr
Staff Writer

Scott joins The MMA Corner having spent the last 14 years in mixed martial arts as Director of Media & Fighter Relations for the Maximum Fighting Championship. He will provide The MMA Corner with insight on breaking news in the sport, plus an insider's perspective on business developments, matchmaking, fighter signings, and much more. In addition to his longtime work in MMA, Scott was a sports reporter before moving into media relations and marketing. After growing up and working in Edmonton, Alberta, Scott has since moved to Bakersfield, California to be with his wife Christina (an avid fight fan, thank goodness) and kids.