UFC champ Jon Jones has recently been stripped of his title as Light-Heavyweight champion effective immediately and suspended indefinitely. Dana White, UFC president made the announcement via “FOX Sports Live” on Tuesday night.
The UFC champion was arrested Monday in Albuquerque, New Mexico on allegations of a “hit-and-run” accident, which carries felony charges in that state due in part to one of the drivers sustaining injuries. The driver of the involved vehicle has been identified as Vanessa Sonnenberg, who was transported to the hospital because she was pregnant and feeling as though she was going to pass out at the scene.
Jones was suspected of being the driver who fled the scene of the accident, but the Albuquerque police eventually issued a warrant for his arrest on felony charges of leaving the scene of an accident, after their suspicions were confirmed that he “was” the driver. He later voluntarily surrendered to the police on Monday, but was released on a personal $2,500 bond.
The UFC president stated that she was finally able to talk directly to Jones on Tuesday, getting his side of the story, before announcing the actions that were taken against him.
“He didn’t say a lot. Obviously, he’s got to handle his legal proceedings,” White said. “His lawyer didn’t have him say much. What we wanted to find out is what the facts were. There’s a lot of things that are being said out there about what happened that day, a lot of them are untrue, a lot of them are speculation, and we wanted to hear Jon’s side of the story and we wanted to hear what his lawyer had to say about it.”
He hasn’t spoken publicly yet on the incident except for a message he released via Twitter on Tuesday:
Got a lot of soul-searching to do. Sorry to everyone I’ve let down.
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 29, 2015
The UFC moved quickly once White got the information from Jones, stripping him of his title while reluctantly having to suspend him indefinitely as well. He was slated to face-off with Anthony Johnson in a main event before the suspension, but Jones’ rival Daniel Cormier will get the call for the May 23rd fight with the light heavyweight title now on the line.
“Obviously he’s very disappointed,” White said. “He’s upset, he wanted to go down as one of the greatest ever, but it is what it is. It was the decision we had to make.”
According to the UFC’s code of conduct, the promotion company has the right to suspend Jones indefinitely for behavior detrimental to the organization. Officials haven’t placed a time limit on how long the suspension may last or if he will ever fight in the “Octagon” again.
“I don’t now what’s going to happen,” White said candidly. “We have suspended him indefinitely. Obviously he needs to focus on his legal matters.”
As revealed in the accident’s police report, Jones was recognized at the scene by an off-duty officer who happened to witness the three vehicle crash. Information was located within the vehicle he was driving that lead to the identification of Jones. Also found in the car was a “pot” pipe with a small amount of marijuana in it.
We will see how these legal troubles pan out in the near future as the District Attorney from Bernalillo County has 60 days to take seek an indictment on Jones’ for a penalty that could carry up to 3 years imprisonment.