UFC stripped light heavyweight champion Jon Jones of his title and suspended him indefinitely on April 28 for his alleged involvement in a hit-and-run accident involving a 25-year-old pregnant woman in Albuquerque on Sunday.
Jon Jones is no longer the Ultimage Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion.
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UFC issued a statement on its official website on April 28, saying it has stripped Jones of his title and suspended him indefinitely for a recent hit-and-run accident in New Mexico, thereby violating its Athlete Code of Conduct Policy:
"UFC announced that is has suspended Jon Jones indefinitely and stripped him of the light heavyweight title as a result of violations of the organization's Athlete Code of Conduct Policy. Jones was recently arrested in Albuquerque, N.M. on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury.
"As a result of the charge and other violations of the Athlete Code of Conduct Policy, the organization believes it is best to allow Jones time to focus on his pending legal matters.
"UFC feels strongly that its athletes must uphold certain standards both in and out of the Octagon. While there is disappointment in the recent charges, the organization remains supportive of Jones as he works through the legal process.
"With this decision, UFC has determined that No. 1 contender Anthony Johnson will now fight No. 3 contender Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight championship at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas."
UFC president Dana White told KOAT.com's Aaron Hilf on Tuesday he's none too pleased with how Jones has conducted himself but understands situations like this arise:
"Obviously it's never a good thing when you hear that one of your guys is in trouble. We're not thrilled about it, but you know these things happen and a lot of times people forget that we're dealing with human beings here and that people mistakes."
The Albuquerque Journal tried to reach out to Jones' trainer, Greg Jackson, to get his comment on his fighter but got no response.
Jones made his first appearance at Metropolitan Court on Tuesday to listen to the charges against him. New Mexico Judge Maria Dominguez did not require the now-ex-UFC light heavyweight champion to enter a plea, per The Albuquerque Journal.
Instead, she took into account the $2,500 bail Jones posted and then told him he cannot take alcohol or illegal drugs and must be in touch with a lawyer, per The Albuquerque Journal.
The same update also states Dominguez "did not impose any travel restrictions" on Jones, who quickly exited the courtroom without speaking to the media as soon as his hearing ended.
According to The Albuquerque Journal, White, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta and COO Lawrence Epstein visited Jones in his lawyer Vincent Ward's office on Tuesday.
"He's very disappointed," White told FOX Sports (via The Albuquerque Journal). "He wanted to go down as one of the greats, or the greatest ever. He's disappointed, but it is what it is. It was the decision we had to make."
Jones had been the subject of an Albuquerque Police Department manhunt after he allegedly ran a red light and then plowed his rented SUV into the vehicle of a pregnant woman at the intersection of Juan Tabo and Southern SE, per The Albuquerque Journal.
Once authorities combed through the SUV, they discovered sports memorabilia, paperwork proving the vehicle had been rented by Jones' wife and a pipe containing marijuana, per The Albuquerque Journal.
Authorities confirmed to ESPN on Tuesday that the 25-year-old victim suffered a broken arm and wrist.
Got a lot of soul searching to do. Sorry to everyone I've let down.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) April 29, 2015
A witness came forward and told police he saw Jones flee from the scene of the accident only to return and grab thick wads of cash from the SUV before disappearing. Another witness, an off-duty police officer who follows the UFC, positively identified the perpetrator as Jones, per The Albuquerque Journal.
Jones' first brush with the law occurred in May 2012 when he crashed his Bentley into a telephone pole in Binghampton, New York. He was consequently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, per ESPN.
In Dec. 2014, Jones tested positive for cocaine while training for his fight with Cormier. Nonetheless, the ESPN update states Jones was cleared to fight because "the test was conducted out of competition."
A month later, Jones incurred a hefty $25,000 fine for the positive test, an action deemed a violation of UFC's Athlete Code of Conduct, per The Albuquerque Journal.
The 27-year-old Jones, a native of Rochester, N.Y. who now resides in New Mexico, had a 21-1 win-loss record at the time of his suspension.
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