UFC president Dana White doesn’t want Jon Jones to headline a card when the former light heavyweight champion returns.
White believes that Jones, who’s currently serving a one-year suspension from USADA, is too unreliable to hold all the weight that comes with main event status. Jones has been forced out of several main event slots in the past for various reasons, including UFC 200 this past summer.
“In my opinion, I would never take the risk of headlining a show with Jon Jones again,” White told Jim Rome on SiriusXM Thursday. “I’d put him on the card, but I wouldn’t headline with him until he consistently gets back on track. Millions of dollars are spent on this. And for a card to fall apart — how many cards have fallen apart because Jon Jones gets in trouble for something? So, no, I’m not at that place with him.”
Jones was given a one-year suspension, the maximum sanction of his particular case, by USADA earlier this week after a lengthy arbitration hearing. He will be eligible to return to competition in early July 2017.
Jones failed an out-of-competition drug test for clomiphene and Letrozole ahead of a scheduled UFC 200 bout with Daniel Cormier, which was later scrapped, in July. But, in a thorough investigation, USADA discovered that the banned substances were found in a contaminated pill he took, meaning that Jones did not knowingly use anything prohibited per the WADA code.
This wasn’t the first stir Jones created, though. He was arrested last year for a hit-and-run accident, which led to him being stripped of his light heavyweight belt. He was again arrested earlier this year for probation violation.
White believes that Jones has squandered his talents more than any other fighter, ever.
“He cost himself a hell of a lot of money; I’m doing alright,” White said. “[MMA fighters] have a very short window of opportunity. Who knows where he could be; he could be fighting at heavyweight right now. He probably lost 15 to 20 million dollars. He’s probably the greatest talent we’ve ever seen in the sport. It’s sad to see it go like this.”
Jones, the youngest UFC champion in the organization’s history, is widely regarded as the current pound-for-pound king. In his last outing, he defeated Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 197 to capture the interim light heavyweight championship. He was stripped of that title earlier this week following the suspension news.