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Posted on May 3, 2015 by Jack Thurman
The UFC has lost one of their few remaining ‘mainstream star’ fighters–at least for the time being. The organization has stripped Jon Jones of the light heavyweight title and suspended him ‘indefinitely’ after he was charged with felony hit and run from an incident that occurred in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This time, the UFC had little choice but to act swiftly and decisively. The organization took a lot of criticism for basically ‘looking the other way’ after Jones tested positive for cocaine following a fight in January. They fined Jones $25,000 and sent him to rehab. He stayed there one night and after a statement that he ‘wasn’t a regular user’ of cocaine he was back in good graces. Critics correctly pointed out that had it been a less marketable fighter he would have been sent packing almost immediately. But Jones was back in the good graces of the UFC brass and scheduled to fight on May 23 before the latest fracas.
Jones was arrested for an incident in which he caused an accident and left the scene of the accident. The details surrounding the event paint Jones in an even worse light–witnesses described a man later identified as Jones leaving his rented SUV after the accident, then returning to grab some cash out of the cab and then fleeing the scene. Police later found marijuana and related paraphernalia in the vehicle. No word yet on whether Jones has insisted that he’s ‘not a regular user’ of pot. In addition, the police found car rental paperwork linking the vehicle to Jones.
The UFC responded by stripping Jones of the title and suspending him ‘indefinitely’. Since they’re making this all up as they go there’s no real definition of what this terminology means or what process Jones would have to go through to get reinstated. The more likely scenario is as soon as he’s in the clear legally and the bad PR starts to blow over he’ll be ‘reinstated’ quickly since the UFC is desperate for any fighter that can prop up their downward spiraling PPV buy rates. UFC PPV buys dropped an average of 200,000 per event from 2013 to 2014. Right now Ronda Rousey is the only star that has any sort of appeal to anyone other than the promotion’s shrinking base of hardcore fans.