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5 times that Jon Jones and the UFC were not on the same page

Jon Jones simply can
Jon Jones simply can't seem to stay on-side with the UFC.
Scott Newman
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 30 Mar 2021
Top 5 / Top 10

With two reigns as UFC Light Heavyweight champion as well as 11 successful title defenses under his belt, it’s hard to dispute that Jon Jones is one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time.

Despite his greatness, things haven’t always been rosy between Jon Jones and the UFC, and the two parties have had numerous spats over the years.

Whether it’s been down to money or out-of-cage behavior, Jones has come under fire from the UFC on plenty of occasions.

Here are five times that Jon Jones and the UFC were not on the same page.


#1 Jon Jones refuses to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 151

Jon Jones was labeled selfish by UFC President Dana White when he refused to fight at UFC 251.
Jon Jones was labeled selfish by UFC President Dana White when he refused to fight at UFC 251.

For the first few years of his UFC career, Jon Jones was a model employee.

Bones shot to the top of the UFC Light Heavyweight division after debuting in 2008, running through opponents like a knife through butter.

And when he defeated Shogun Rua to win the UFC Light-Heavyweight title at UFC 128, it looked like the promotion had found its new poster-boy.

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However, things weren’t always straightforward, most notably when Jones caused September 2012’s UFC 151 to be canceled.

Bones had been booked to defend his title against Dan Henderson in the show's main event, only for Henderson to blow his knee out with a week to go.

Chael Sonnen – a career Middleweight – offered to step in at late notice, but acting upon his coach Greg Jackson's advice, Jones refused to take the fight.

The UFC were forced to scrap the card altogether, and a furious UFC President, Dana White, slammed Jones, labeling him selfish and stating that he and Jackson had “murdered the card."

It was the first sign that Jones perhaps wasn’t the company man that the UFC believed him to be.


#2 Jon Jones involved in hit-and-run incident, stripped of his UFC Light Heavyweight title

Jon Jones was stripped of his UFC Light Heavyweight title after a hit-and-run incident in 2015.
Jon Jones was stripped of his UFC Light Heavyweight title after a hit-and-run incident in 2015.

By early 2015, Jon Jones had held the UFC Light Heavyweight title for four years, defending it successfully on eight occasions.

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However, where his opponents in the Octagon couldn’t take the title from him, his out-of-cage behavior was about to.

Jones had already caused controversy when he tested positive for cocaine in a post-fight drug test following his win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 182. However, due to the drug being non-performance enhancing, he was able to keep hold of his title.

Just months later, though, Jones found himself in seriously hot water.

Bones was arrested by Albuquerque police after being involved in a hit-and-run incident, fleeing the scene on foot and leaving a pregnant woman injured.

Worse still, Jones car contained a pipe with marijuana inside it, suggesting he was under the influence at the time of the incident.

Despite avoiding a jail sentence, the UFC simply couldn’t stand by him. And so, after meeting with Jones, the promotion stripped him of his title and suspended him indefinitely.

It was the first time the UFC had ever been forced to strip a fighter of a title for their out-of-cage actions, and it clearly infuriated the promotion.

It would be over a year before he would fight again.


#3 Jon Jones tests positive for performance-enhancing drugs after beating Daniel Cormier at UFC 214

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Jon Jones tested positive for a banned substance following his win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.
Jon Jones tested positive for a banned substance following his win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.

By 2017, Jon Jones’ reputation was already tarnished due to multiple incidents involving drugs.

Not only was there his positive test for cocaine at UFC 182, but he’d also been forced out of the main event of UFC 200 after testing positive for the banned substance clomiphene.

In that instance, Jones claimed the positive test stemmed from a contaminated supplement. And while USADA’s investigators were able to confirm this, he still found himself hit with a one-year suspension.

But when he returned to face off with Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 for the UFC Light Heavyweight title he hadn’t lost inside the Octagon, many fans were still suspicious.

Jones put on one of the best performances of his career that night, stopping Cormier in the third round. It felt as if the king had returned to his throne.

Just weeks later, though, all of that went up in smoke. It was reported that Jones had tested positive for yet another banned substance – this time the anabolic steroid Turanibol – and the UFC were forced to strip him of his title once again.

It was initially reported that Jones faced a potential four-year suspension, but this was eventually reduced to 15 months when he essentially turned snitch and provided “substantial assistance” to USADA regarding a doping violation by another athlete.

Once again, though, Jones had massively disappointed the UFC, who were banking on him to reignite the Light Heavyweight division following his win.


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#4 Jon Jones’ positive drug test causes UFC 232 to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles

A questionable drug test from Jon Jones forced the UFC to move UFC 232 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.
A questionable drug test from Jon Jones forced the UFC to move UFC 232 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.

Perhaps the craziest incident involving Jon Jones causing the UFC serious grief happened at UFC 232 in December 2018.

Bones was eligible to fight again by that point following his USADA suspension. And so the UFC booked him to fight old foe Alexander Gustafsson for the UFC Light Heavyweight title vacated by Daniel Cormier in the main event.

However, just days before the event, it was announced that the Nevada State Athletic Commission had denied Jones a license to compete.

Reportedly, there were inconsistencies in his pre-fight drug tests, and it was initially stated that he’d tested positive for Turanibol again.

Incredibly, while the UFC clearly must’ve been furious, they decided not to scrap the fight. Instead, at an insane cost, they moved the entire event from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.

It was eventually announced that the inconsistencies in the drug test stemmed from his original positive test for Turanibol in 2017. But that didn’t really make up for the havoc that he’d caused to the UFC with this incident.


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#5 Jon Jones prices himself out of a potential fight with Francis Ngannou

Jon Jones is currently involved in a spat with the UFC over his pay.
Jon Jones is currently involved in a spat with the UFC over his pay.

Despite the UFC literally bending backward for him by moving UFC 232, Jon Jones simply couldn’t stay on the same page as the promotion during 2020.

After defending his UFC Light-Heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247, the suggestion was made that Bones would move up to the Heavyweight division.

And indeed, he began to fire challenges towards top Heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou.

However, by the summer, Jones decided he didn’t like the money that the UFC were offering him for the fight – and subsequently decided to hit out at the promotion on Twitter.

Bones announced that he was vacating his title, that he felt disrespected by the promotion, and even demanded that they cut him from his contract.

Naturally, that didn’t happen, despite Dana White slamming him for demanding “Deontay Wilder money” for the fight.

Instead, Jones appeared to have come to an agreement with the UFC to move up in weight and officially vacated his Light Heavyweight crown.

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But after this weekend’s UFC 260 card – which saw Ngannou defeat Stipe Miocic for the UFC Heavyweight title – things once again appear to have gone sour between Jones and the promotion.

Once again involved in a spat over money, this week has seen Jones demand to be cut from his UFC contract for the second time.

What happens from here is anyone’s guess – but it definitely feels like Jon Jones and the UFC simply can’t find common ground for any length of time.

Published 30 Mar 2021, 21:52 IST
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