4 Reasons UFC Should Not Build Itself Around Jon Jones
Jon Jones is quickly becoming the biggest star in the UFC today, but that doesn't mean he'll remain that way. The UFC could place all its chips on Jones' future and be surprised to find out its winning hand is met with a loss.
While many industries have been vaulted on the backs of bright, young men, the world of sports is not one to do so.
Here are four reasons why the UFC betting its future on Jones would be a bad idea.
Jon Jones Could Suffer the 'Mike Tyson' Effect
Jon Jones is an exciting rising star that seems otherworldly in the sport of MMA, especially under the UFC banner. UFC has had its fair share of standouts, but Jones could be special.
Boxing is a sport that is a bit older than MMA and knows a thing or two about rising stars and how quick they fall. Mike Tyson may be one of the most famous cases of a fallen star that rose so quick.
Tyson's rise was even faster than Jones. It took Jones three years to earn the UFC light heavyweight (205 lbs.) championship. It took Tyson less than two years to earn the heavyweight championship.
Though 19 when he won the championship, it wasn't until his early 20s that Tyson suffered not only his first defeat but the biggest upset of all time against glorified journeyman Buster Douglas.
Sure, the sport of MMA had to watch in shock as Fabricio Werdum submitted the legendary Fedor Emelianenko and fans of UFC stared blankly as Matt Sierra pummeled George St. Pierre, but nothing in UFC or even MMA has come close to representing possibly the biggest rise and fall in combat sports history. UFC will have its chance as Jones continues his meteoric rise to the top.
Will Jones get complacent? It happens to the best of champions. When all a fighter has to do is defend a position rather than fight for one, how fast does his hungry teeth dull?
If the UFC doesn't know the exact number to that equation, betting on Jones might not serve it too well.
Jon Jones Could Grow an Ego
The WWE made a lot of stars during its "Attitude Era." This era became its biggest and brightest so naturally it would give birth to pro wrestling's biggest star, The Rock.
The Rock rose quickly and dominated the crowd's attention from the moment their eyes set on him. Soon he turned his charisma, good looks and physicality into an action movie screen presence.
Since then, The Rock has come back only in an effort to promote his newest films before darting off to make more.
The WWE last called upon him to deliver the equivalent of a stimulus package in the form of a major main event against John Cena in Wrestlemania 28. After winning, The Rock made a prompt exit.
Jon Jones has the looks and charm to crossover into films, assuming he dedicates a little time to acting classes.
Romantic comedies, action movies, Jones likely is or will receive offers as success continues. He'll look at his checks and compare with others to see where he should be financially in his career.
An injury that sidelines Jones for too long may let Jones see a glimpse into being broke. That doesn't mean he'll miss a mansion or car payment, but the mere threat of such a possibility will make him reevaluate how much he gets paid per fight.
A fighter who is afraid of going broke will ask for more money every time he faces a high risk in the ring, knowing good and well it could potentially be his last fight.
Fighters sometimes want to be taken care of by their promoters. This could sideline Bones if disagreements with UFC lead to no deals to make fights.
The UFC shouldn't put itself in this position by giving Jones the power to make his demands. Creating more young stars lowers the chance of an attempted coup by the rising talent.
Jon Jones Could Suffer a Career-Ending Inury
Jon Jones and Rashad Evans have suffered injuries in just delaying their own match against each other. Both men understand how one expertly applied maneuver can put a fighter out of commission for a long time.
GSP is expected to be sidelined anywhere between a few months and the rest of the year depending on who's making the report on any given month due to a knee injury.
While Jones may not suffer an injury that can end his career, it's not unreasonable to think he can be put in a period of inactivity that lasts a very long time.
For a sport franchise that seems increasingly more interested in placing more bets on the talented fighter, an inactive superstar is the last thing the UFC would want.
If Jones suffers an injury, it's what the UFC would get.
Jon Jones Simply Isn't the Only Star on the Horizon
Is Jon Jones special? Yes, undoubtedly so. Jones wouldn't be even considered to carry a franchise if he wasn't the real deal.
However, though Jones is good and getting better, his peers are doing OK, too.
Fighters—like 25-year-old Alexander Gustafsson—that end nearly every fight inside the distance are the kind of fighters fans love and need.
Jones is doing everything he's supposed to do and more, but he's not the only fighter hoping to leave a major mark on the sport. Hungry 20-somethings are being signed nearly every week.
The UFC could always search for the next biggest stars while promoting it current brightest. There need not be an "either/or" situation here.
If the UFC has shown anything over the course of its growth, it's shown there's room for multiple stars under its banner.