What exaggerated expectations do saddle a young king. One waiting for his moment, young in appearance and even younger in his way of thinking. But often the case for young kings are the expectations of a flawless rule; defining and cementing of a legacy rife with the assumptions and requirements of others, not of your own.
The fight game can be described as a wayward world of unmerciful bounty tied to C4 explosives. Often times these young ruffians from humble understanding enter into a deal signed with the blood of their work, the sweat from the brow. In sports our young stars are of two persona: The crossover cookie cutter icon who sells jerseys and soft drinks, and the "could have been" who should have been, but never was. The court of public opinion is one whose form of justice is not fair to those who perform on the field of play, or the ring, or the cage.
Whether it's Muhammad Ali, Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, or Wayne Gretzsky, there are plenty of examples in our sports history of the classic do no wrong god like figure, the controversial anti-hero, and the quiet operator going about their business of being great. MMA's moment called for Jon Jones as their signature superstar who would once and for all introduce this adolescent sport into the grown up world of our mainstream consciousness.
Instead after a series of cringe worthy incidents, coupled with a sense that Jones lacks sincerity in everything he does that does not involve himself, in an attempt to promote himself, I'm left wondering if perhaps this talented young man is ready for prime time as it were. In boxing the moment usually comes around when it's ready rather than when you're ready. Most of our great super stars have either adapted or crumbled underneath the pressure of being that "guy". Oscar De La Hoya and Sugar Ray Leonard presented a safe face to a mainstream public weary of boxing's brutal function. Muhammad Ali gave us the more anti-hero aspect with his social and cultural importance, unmatched to this day by any sports figure. Iron Mike Tyson was the baddest man on the planet, he was also the most dangerous to himself and others, and the most ill prepared super star we've ever seen. Here you had a man who just a few years removed from the cold rugged streets of Brooklyn won the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles after knocking out the late Trevor Berbick, becoming the youngest undisputed heavyweight champion in history.
At age 20 Tyson was on top of the sports world despite a lack of social maturity needed to handle such a platform. What Jon Jones has done thus far obviously can't be mentioned in the same breath as what Tyson accomplished during the height of boxing's third heavyweight golden era, and while I don't expect Jon Jones to completely meltdown and exhibit the kind of destructive behavioral patterns that befell Mike Tyson (rape, domestic abuse, drug use, rage and anger problems) I must say his current handling of the spotlight leaves one scratching his head.
Self sabotage is often an unwitting action. For whatever reason there are some who just can't seem to get out of their own way. They do and say things that aren't associated with their platform. In politics I believe that "thing" is called the truth. In the world of fighting one must never openly appeal to the power of their boss because another fighting is messing with them. I assumed Jones long left the uneven concrete and playground equipment behind when he became a man; but is he a man yet? He's a 23 year old with a lot of money and the weight of a sport's desire to breakthrough on his shoulders. The UFC needs Jon Jones to be level headed and as perfect as this company can make him appear to be such.
The last thing they need is their lone true star coming off like some whining Nancy crying at her birthday party. But it's his party and Jon can cry if he wants to. He can cry all the way to the bank, having accomplished nothing after accomplishing so much so fast, while the mma public at large continues to shake their head every time Jon Jones proves them right when they had him pegged as a phony male diva with a god complex and skin thinner than an over stuffed egg roll.
To survive in this atmosphere one must take into account one's mentality. If one is as short sided as I suspect one is, then one's time in the spotlight will not last for very long. You can't blame the cancellation of an entire event on Jon Jones but perhaps Jones should learn from his recent experience in stepping on land mines. When one's leg has been blown off, one should stop stepping on land mines.
Either Jon Jones needs to learn how to talk trash or he needs to drop this boy next door golly gee wow whiz act because his actions have proven this to be the single greatest act of masquerade in sport's history. Here's how you shut Chael Sonnen up, you say the following: Juicer, Launderer, Tax Cheat, Overrated, Nut Hugger, Shrinkage, and Oregon.