Though he has only been competing as a mixed martial artist for four years, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has already risen to the top of the sport, and some are claiming that he will one day be considered the greatest fighter of all-time.
These claims are not without their merits. In 2011, Jones was monstrously successful. He defeated the then-undefeated Ryan Bader, won the championship from the legendary Mauricio Rua and defended the belt twice against two former champions. If that's not enough, he also finished all four fights.
Naturally, the 24-year-old champion's success has garnered him a large amount of media attention—attention that Jones has welcomed with (freakishly long) open arms.
Here is a quote from Jones (via USA Today), regarding his position as one of the UFC's most prominently featured fighter:
I'm very comfortable with the UFC putting me out there and trying to use me as one of the guys to promote the sport and bring it to a new level. I'm honored that they respect that I'll do well by the opportunity. I think if I was a knucklehead and I was a guy who you would have to worry about getting a DWI or going out and doing something really stupid, they simply wouldn't promote me. I think they see the guy that I am, and they trust that, even though I'm a 24-year-old, I'm a trustworthy 24-year-old.
For those who don't know, Jones has recently rendered this quote meaningless by crashing his 2012 Bentley into a pole and being subsequently charged with a DUI. The crash occurred sometime near five AM.
The news has come as a shock to many in the MMA community, especially given that Jones has previously given the impression that he's not much for partying.
"Having that Christian base keeps me focused on what I have to do. It keeps me out of the clubs and in the gym," Jones said in an interview with espn.com.
Jones' fans are no doubt disappointed by the young man's crime, but you would think, given that he is a Christian and a self-proclaimed trustworthy 24-year-old, no one would be more disappointed in Jones than Jones himself.
After all, a DUI is a serious crime. Many lives are lost every year as a result of driving under the influence, and Jones is lucky that he only hit a pole and not a pedestrian or another car.
Given the potential catastrophe that his actions could have caused, there's no doubt that Jones must be utterly consumed with guilt and regret. Right?
Here is an apology that Jones put forth via his Facebook:
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 :)"
Not exactly an apology indicative of a man who understands the severity of his actions. In fact, Jones goes out of his way to bash those who have been criticizing his doings, calling them "hateful". He doesn't seem to grasp that he's done a terrible thing and that any flack he endures as a result is merited.
But hey, it's just one slip-up. Let's give the guy a break.
It's been revealed that Jones' DUI was not his first run-in with the law, and that the young champ was stopped in Albuquerque, N.M. in late 2011 and slapped with multiple charges.
So, not only has Jones had prior troubles with the law and not learned his lesson, he was blatantly lying when he said the UFC doesn't have to worry about him doing "something really stupid" because he had already been in trouble with the law at that point.
Looks like Rashad Evans was right on the money when he told the world that Jones is a fake.
There's no doubting that Jones is a remarkable fighter and will likely go down as one of the best ever, but he is still very young and very brash. More than that, he's been deceiving fans for months and hiding his true self from the public.
This kid is not ready to be the new face of the UFC.
Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a stand-up comedian. Check him out on Twitter @AndrewBarr8.