By Simon Samano
For Fox Deportes
At the very top of the UFC’s wish list must’ve been this one simple request: Jon Jones, please don’t get in trouble with the law.
Then came the early hours of Saturday morning, and it happened. The light heavyweight champion was arrested in Binghamton, N.Y., on a charge of driving under the influence after crashing his Bentley Continental GT into a telephone pole.
We can only imagine the plethora of F-bombs Dana White dropped when he heard the news.
Jones the fighter will be fine, especially since he wasn’t injured. Jones the UFC’s No. 1 box-office draw could be a different story.
His apology issued Monday to his Facebook friends likely did little to help his image. Here’s what the champ had to say:
”Man I haven’t added anyone new to my Facebook page in like three years and right now I’m so glad that I haven’t. It has literally been sickening to have so many people try to kick me while I’m down. At the same time, I totally understand, I gave them the leeway to. I screwed up, big time. Just needed to say thank you to all you guys for being amazing friends/supporters.
Always having to deal with so many critics, haters and fickle mma fans, I almost forgot how strong of a home base I had (607 and people that knew me before I was a champion fighter). Although the hell that will come with this hasn’t even started yet, I want you guys to know how much better you’ve all made me feel, not only about this situation but about life, everything. It’s good to feel that people are there and care. With that being said, I felt I should apologize to you first.
I’m truly sorry to those of you that I may have embarrassed in any way, to those of you with kids that I may have let down. I will prove to them as well as to myself, that no matter what is happening in life, we can always work our way back and make things even better than before. Reading you guys uplifting comments was a great reminder for me to not give up on who I am or all the hateful people. I’m not gonna allow this situation to outweigh the positive. I love you guys right back and I promise to make things right. PS sorry about the terrible grammar :)”
You get the sense Jones doesn’t completely get it. Nowhere in an apology should he have fired back at fans for criticizing him for a bonehead decision to get behind the wheel drunk, yet he called it “sickening” that “fickle MMA fans” would do such a thing. I’m not trying to stand on a soap box here, but Jones is off base. Attacking critics makes you wonder if he realizes how lucky he is that nobody was seriously injured or killed because of his stupidity.
Jones, 24, had a squeaky-clean image until now, which was opening the door for sponsors, which, of course, would help Jones get into the mainstream. We imagine that will be on hold now for the time being.
So what does the UFC do about this? Not much, really, except for a little damage control. Jones is scheduled to fight Dan Henderson at UFC 151 on Sept. 1, and there’s no reason to believe that will change.
The one thing the UFC will worry about between now and then are the numbers — as in, will the public forgive Jones and still clamor to watch him fight? I guess we’ll find out in a few months.