MANILA, Philippines – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) stripped off Jon Jones of his world light heavyweight title and suspended him indefinitely.
Company head honcho Dana White broke the news during his interview on FOX Sport Live on Tuesday, April 29 (Manila Time).
UFC’s decision comes following Jones’ arrest for a felony charge of leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
According to the Albuquerque Police Department arrest warrant, Jones ran a red light and drove a rented Buick SUV into another car, which then collided with a third vehicle.
It was later revealed that the woman driver named Vanessa Sonnenberg suffered a broken arm in the accident.
An off-duty police officer, who was present at the scene and identified the UFC fighter, reported that Jones left his car, ran a short distance away and returned to grab cash from the vehicle before fleeing again.
Under New Mexico state law, the alleged act elevates the charge from misdemeanor to felony, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail with fines.
“Obviously, he’s got to handle his legal proceedings. His lawyer didn’t say much. We basically went in there. What we wanted to find out was what the facts were. A lot of things are being said out there about what happened that day,” White said.
Jones was briefly held at the Bernalillo County Metro Detention Center, but he has been released after posting a $2,500 bond.
Due to the unfortunate incident, Daniel Cormier will take Jones’ spot in the main event of UFC 187 on May 23 (May 24 in Manila) to face Anthony Johnson as both men will battle for the vacant light heavyweight championship.
“Obviously, he’s very disappointed. He’s upset. He wanted to go down as one of the greats or the greatest ever. He’s disappointed, but it is what it is. It’s the decision we had to make,” White stated.
After UFC’s announcement of his suspension, Jones issued an apology on his official Twitter account.
“Got a lot of soul searching to do. Sorry to everyone I’ve let down,” he wrote.
In early December, Jones tested positive for metabolites of cocaine while training for his bout against Cormier.
Jones was allowed to compete because the test was conducted out of competition and outpointed Cormier via unanimous decision a month later in their title tilt.
Johnson vs Cormier
Johnson (19-4) earned his No. 1 contender status by thumping Gustafsson via first-round technical knockout at January’s UFC on FOX 14.
A former welterweight stalwart, Johnson has won three outings in a row since moving to UFC’s 205-pound weight class on a permanent basis.
On the other hand, Cormier (15-1) was originally scheduled to lock horns with Ryan Bader in the UFC Fight Night 68 headliner on June 6 (June 7 in PH).
Cormier suffered the first defeat of his professional career in January when he came up on the wrong end of a five-round verdict versus Jones at UFC 182.
Prior to his disappointing setback to Jones, the 36-year-old freestyle wrestler had compiled a perfect 15-0 mark inside the cage, scoring notable victories over the likes of Frank Mir, Roy Nelson and Dan Henderson. – Rappler.com