Wednesday, April 29, 2015
UFC Strips Jon Jones Of Title.
UFC stripped light heavyweight champion Jon Jones of his title Tuesday, one day after he turned himself in to police custody on a felony charge in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Jones, 27, is the first champion in UFC history to be stripped of a title due to disciplinary reasons. UFC officials also announced Tuesday that the promotion has indefinitely suspended Jones and pulled him from a scheduled title defense against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas.
In addition, Reebok terminated Jones' endorsement contract, effective immediately, on Wednesday morning. Jones had lost his deal with Nike after a mutual split in Sept. 2014.
Former title contender Daniel Cormier will replace Jones in the pay-per-view event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to fight for the now-vacant light heavyweight title.
"He's very disappointed. He's upset. He wanted to go down as one of the greats or the greatest," UFC president Dana White said on "Fox Sports Live" of Jones. "He's disappointed, but it is what it is. It is the decision we had to make.
"For us to go in and have to strip him of his title and suspend him is not fun, but you know what they say: The show must go on."
Johnson echoed those sentiments to ESPN.com on Wednesday.
"I can say that I'm kind of disappointed with the mistake Jon made, but he is human," Johnson said. "I definitely wanted to fight him for the title. He's the best. Everybody wants to fight the best, if you're in this sport for the right reasons."
Jones appeared in Bernalillo County Metropolitan Court on Tuesday for a felony first appearance. Judge Maria Dominguez granted a request made by Jones' attorney, Vincent Ward, to remove any travel restrictions on the fighter, which kept alive the possibility of Jones fighting next month in Las Vegas.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein and White flew to Albuquerque to meet with Jones and his representatives Tuesday afternoon. UFC announced Jones had been stripped of the title hours later.
"UFC feels strongly that its athletes must uphold certain standards both in and out of the Octagon," UFC said in a statement. "While there is disappointment in the recent changes, the organization remains supportive of Jones as he works through the legal process."
Widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Jones allegedly was involved in a three-car accident Sunday morning. Witnesses said a man fitting Jones' description ran a red light, collided with another vehicle and fled on foot. According to police reports, the man apparently returned to the vehicle to grab a "large handful of cash" before fleeing a second time.
The driver of the car that was struck, a 25-year-old pregnant woman, was taken to the hospital. Police confirmed she suffered a fractured arm and wrist.
Jones did not enter a plea during his court appearance Tuesday. The district attorney has 60 days to determine whether to move forward with the case, according to court spokeswoman Camille Cordova.