UFC 152: Jon Jones, Rest of World Need a Break from Each Other
"No, no. Dig up, stupid!"
As is so very often the case, a quote from The Simpsons shows us the way. In the episode that produced the snippet above, a group of characters trap themselves in a hole after digging too deeply for buried treasure. One of the characters in said hole offers this exit strategy. Coincidentally, I think that was the same character who perched on Jon Jones' shoulder and whispered in his ear as he blasted himself in the foot time and time again over the past three weeks, right in front of all us innocent bystanders. I'd be surprised if Jones wasn't walking on some bloody stumps right about now.
At this point, the Jon Jones story isn't really about whether or to what extent he torpedoed UFC 151. The story is Jon Jones digging himself progressively deeper into a pit of public relations purgatory. As a bystander, I could only watch in horror as Jones morphed into MMA's Dorian Gray, all his youthful charm and good will evaporating before my eyes.
Just when you think the wound has stopped bleeding, Jones goes and rips it wide open again, Tito-Ortiz-against-Jerry-Bohlander style. It's just like in a bar fight; everyone calms down, cooler heads prevail, and then the hothead has to shout juuuuust one more thing over his shoulder and stir up the hive all over again. This is not a bar fight. But that's been the Jon Jones mentality since UFC 151.
The steady drumbeat of myopic Jon Jones' public comments sound two distinctive notes: "poor me" and "let them eat cake." Neither is ingratiating, as evidenced by the mountain of backlash from UFC brass, other fighters, pundits and all us fans. I suppose Jon Jones gets paid either way, but is this really the career path he wants to follow? The villain? The heel? If it is, fine, but he should at least put some thought into it first.
Right now, he's not. He's just out there floundering. By my count, Jones has imprinted himself on no fewer than six separate MMA news cycles in the wake of 151. He drew parallels between his own plight and the crucifixion of Jesus. He asked the UFC to ask Chael Sonnen to stop making fun of him. He called Sonnen a racist. He called injured opponent Dan Henderson an "old man" and blamed him for the cancellation. He told Hendo to "shut up," crowing that the former champ "dodged a bullet" when he got injured and was unable to step into the cage with Jones.
Then, just three days ago, he kvetched that UFC President Dana White was "blaming everyone but himself" for the debacle. No word on how many shards Jon Jones' glass house burst into upon the utterance of that statement.
Given that Jones' publicist, John Fuller, apparently quit the Jones camp in frustration, Jones appears to be a soldier without a cavalry. That's telling, and that's part of why Jones keeps digging himself deeper and deeper.
I understand that instinct, of wanting to defend yourself. Especially if you fight for a living. Moreover, Jones actually has some good and valid points to make. But there's no such thing as digging up. Sometimes, you have to turn off the tweets. Hunker down, sit tight and wait for the storm to blow over, or else risk making things worse.
Put the shovel down, Jon. You're just making it worse. A lot worse. This is your intervention. Take some time off. Find a tropical island where they don't allow plebeians or wifi. Go live in a log cabin for a while if you have to. Give all of this some thought. Maybe the UFC needs a heel, but are you really that guy? Is that really what you want? Is that really what we want? I guess we need to do some thinking, too.
Yes, a little time apart seems to be just what the doctor ordered. Thanks in advance, Jon, for your cooperation. See you on the 22nd.
Follow Scott Harris on Twitter @ScottHarrisMMA.
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