Jon Jones: 6 most controversial moments in the career of the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion

Jon Jones
Jon Jones

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon Jones is not a man that shies away from a fight. In fact, with Jones it's quite the opposite. He is ready to fight anyone at any point in time. Despite his obvious ability in the sport of MMA, it might be quite safe to say that Jones has had his fair share of ups and downs over the years.

While he remains unbeaten with the exception of one fight, his life outside the Octagon and his use of PED has marred what would otherwise have been a stellar legacy. Even his only loss remains shrouded in controversy. For a man who dedicates himself to each fight with the utmost viciousness, Jones has not shown that dedication in certain parts of his life.

He was also the only person until recently, to have been able to defeat one of the all-time fan-favorite UFC fighters, Daniel Cormier.

In this article, we are going to talk about the six most controversial moments of Jones' career.


#1 Jon Jones' loss against Matt Hamill

Jon Jones vs Matt Hamill
Jon Jones vs Matt Hamill

As we mentioned before, the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion is undefeated, except for one fight.

That honor of holding the single victory against Jones goes to Matt Hamill, although it's a victory that he won't boast about, as it was surrounded by controversy.

The fight between the two took place at The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale. Jones was utterly dominant in the fight but his use of illegal moves saw him warned and then disqualified by the referee.

Jones had used multiple 12 to 6 elbow strikes at Hamill, which are considered illegal. As a result of his actions, he was disqualified from the fight, and that is still the only loss that is counted on his record, even if he never actually technically lost by finish, be it KO or Submission, or even by the Judge's decision.

#2 Daniel Cormier altercation

Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier
Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier

Daniel Cormier is one of the most beloved figures in the world of MMA and is genuinely adored by the fans. He is often light-hearted and never takes his rivalries excessively seriously.

However, during a promotional event for UFC 178, when the two were facing off, Jones initiated a scuffle by pressing his forehead against Cormier's. Cormier shoved him by the throat, and Jones threw a punch at him. They had to be restrained by their trainers and the situation was not well-received by anyone who was involved in the matter as the Nevada State Athletic Commission asked for a copy of the tape of the proceedings.

Eventually, Jones was handed a $50,000 fine and had to undergo 40 hours of community service. In the disciplinary hearing, Jones revealed that due to the altercation, which had been unnecessary and started by him, he had suffered significant monitory loss as well, as he claimed that he had lost a six-figure endorsement deal with Nike.

However, this drew even more controversy and Jones later revealed that he had been lying and the statement of the lost deal was fabricated by him.

#3 Failed drug test for cocaine

Jon Jones after UFC 182
Jon Jones after UFC 182

While this would be something that would become a fixture before Jon Jones fights, on January 6th, 2015, it was announced that Jon Jones had failed the drug test before UFC 182. He had tested positive for a substance called benzoylecgonine, which is the primary metabolite for cocaine.

The substance was not banned out-of-competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency and so the Nevada State Athletic Commission could not stop Jones from taking part in UFC 182. He was tested a second time after the first test, where the results came back negative and he passed it, thus indicating that the drug was out of Jones' system before the fight actually took place.

The news was soon made public and he went into rehab, but only for one night. He was fined $25,000 for violating the UFC's Athlete Code of Conduct. In a later interview, he claimed that he was not a 'cocaine addict' or even a person who used it frequently. He said that he had made a 'dumb decision' and that had resulted in him being caught with his pants down in this situation.

#4 Jon Jones' hit-and-run

Jon Jones
Jon Jones

Jon Jones' life outside the Octagon has often encroached over the perception that the fans have of the fighter. It was confirmed on 27th April 2015, that Jones was wanted in connection with a hit-and-run incident. Apparently, Jones had run a red light and crashed his rental card into two other vehicles. He had then fled the scene and had returned once to grab cash from the vehicle before running again.

There was a pipe with marijuana found inside the vehicle as well as papers identifying Jones. He had injured a person and then fled the scene, resulting in a felony. Jones turned himself in and then posted bail to leave the detention center.

Jones publicly apologized to all of his fans while saying that he had a lot of soul-searching to do. At this time, there was a pending UFC fight still left ion his contract. He was stripped of the title, removed from the rankings, and suspended. He later pleaded guilty and was under 18 months of supervised probation.

#5 Jon Jones failed drug tests

Jon Jones
Jon Jones

As mentioned previously, when it comes to Jon Jones, failed drug tests somehow became a part of the deal where the fighter was concerned. On 8th July 2016, Jones tested positive for two banned substances before his Championship fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 200. The violation was confirmed on both samples collected from him and he had to withdraw from the fight, being replaced by Anderson Silva.

Jones said that he was innocent and that he was the victim here of a contaminated product. The named product, Cialis, was tested and found to be contaminated by the USADA. He was suspended for 1 year after his arbitration hearing even though it was concluded that he had not partaken of substances intentionally.

On August 22nd, 2017, he was flagged for yet another possible doping violation, that was collected after his weigh-ins on 28th July. He tested positive for Turinabol, which was an anabolic steroid.

Both his samples tested positive for the steroid. Jones claimed that he had not knowingly consumed the substance and in turn was handed a 15-month suspension by the UFC from September 18th along with 3 months of community service. There was potential for a 4-year suspension but 30 months were taken away by USADA as he had provided 'substantial assistance' to USADA.

When he finally returned in 2018 at UFC 232, more inconsistencies were found in his results and he was not allowed to fight in Nevada. The entire event was moved to Los Angeles to facilitate Jon Jones. The inconsistency was decided as being due to the long-term pulsing effect of the 2017 M3 metabolite.

#6 Jon Jones' battery charge

Jon Jones
Jon Jones

As has been discussed, Jon Jones has never been successful in staying out of the news for controversial reasons. Another example of this arose when on 21st July 2019 it was found that Jones had been charged with battery for an incident dating back to April of 2019. This came after his return to the UFC and his participation in title defenses. In that situation, Jones allegedly slapped a cocktail waitress at TD's Eubank Showclub in Albuquerque. He also was alleged to have put her in a chokehold and kissed her on the neck and touched her genitalia, even though she had asked him to stop.

The trial took place on 26th September 2019, where Jones pleaded no contest to the charges and received a deferred sentence of 90 days. During this Jones needed to not violate the law, consume no alcohol or drugs, not return to the scene, and avoid being arrested. He was also made to pay the court fees during his unsupervised probation period.

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Edited by Anurag Mitra