Jon Jones pleads guilty, avoids jail time
Published on Tuesday, 9/29/15, at 12:02 p.m. Eastern.
Jon Jones’s life and career dodged a major bullet in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this morning. Jones pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run charges for running a red light, hitting a pregnant woman’s car, fleeing the scene and remained in hiding for nearly 48 hours before turning himself in to authorities.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion will avoid jail time and serve 18 months of supervised probation. He must make 72 appearances to do charity work and speak with children. If he meets all of the probation requirements, he won’t be convicted of a felony.
The presiding judge said, “Mr. Jones got real lucky today.”
His lawyer told the judge before his decision, “This has been a huge wake-up call for Mr. Jones.”
UFC President Dana White was in the courtroom during the proceedings. White and the UFC stripped Jones of his belt and suspended him indefinitely one after his arrest in late April.
The championship he vacated was won by Daniel Cormier, who will make his first title defense Saturday in Houston against Alexander Gustafsson. Cormier won the belt by third-round submission over Anthony Johnson, who was scheduled to face Jones before the incident.
Jones defeated Cormier by unanimous decision this past December, but he tested positive for cocaine after the fight. He also was charged with DUI in New York in 2012 after wrapping his Bentley around a tree around 5:00 a.m. in the morning with two female passengers, none of whom were his girlfriend and father of his three kids.
The UFC will likely reinstate Jones and set him up to face the Cormier-Gustafsson winner early in 2016. Regardless of the opponent, it will be much-hyped rematch.
The 28-year-old Jones has never lost in the Octagon. However, he has a defeat next to his record for a controversial ruling for throwing illegal elbows in a match versus Matt Hamill.
Cormier and Gustafsson, especially the latter, gave him his toughest career fights.
Shortly after the court proceedings, Jones released the following statement:
“With regards to today’s decision made by the court, I am very happy to now be able to put this incident behind me. My actions have caused pain and inconvenience in the lives of others and for that I am truly sorry and I accept full responsibility. I have been working hard during this time away from my sport to grow and mature as a man and to ensure that nothing like this happens again. I have learned a great deal from this situation and I am determined to emerge a better person because of it. I apologize to those who were affected by my actions in this incident and I am hopeful that I will be given the opportunity to redeem myself in the eyes of the public, my family and friends as well as my supporters. I am not sure what the future holds for me but I plan to continue to do the work needed to be productive and successful in every aspect of my life. “
The UFC also released a statement that can be seen below:
“The UFC organization is aware that Jon Jones reached a plea agreement with authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico this morning stemming from charges associated with a motor vehicle accident earlier this year. As a result, UFC, through Las Vegas-based law firm Campbell & Williams, will thoroughly review the agreement before discussing Jones’ possible reinstatement to return to competition.
More information will be made available following completion of this review.”
Cormier also reacted with quotes for MMAFighting.com.
“When this incident happened, the thought wasn’t really that Jon was going to serve jail time,” Cormier said. “The hope was that there would be some sort of punishment for his actions, and that was the punishment levied by the judicial system. The system is in place for a reason, so we have to all agree that it’s fair.
“Jon is not getting off scot-free. He will now be able to help young children and talk to them so that they don’t make mistakes like he has over the course of his life.
“Hopefully on the other side he becomes a better person and he gets back to doing what he does best, and that’s fighting.”
“I would love to fight him. I have to get by Alexander Gustafsson first, and then we’ll see what happens. But yeah, I would love for it to be Jon Jones next.”