MMA is, in many ways, a collection of misfits. Listen to fighters tell their personal stories for long enough, and the narrative will often revert to one of street fighting, out of control behavior, and general directionlessness—from which mixed martial arts has provided a necessary structure and relief. As the world’s largest MMA promotion, the UFC has a claim to also housing one of the world’s largest collections of misfit athletes.
Few are more publicly plagued by their out-of-the-cage behavior as light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. His actions over the last near-decade have been put him under the microscope, following a series of driving-related incidents, drug test failures, and even allegations of battery against a cocktail waitress—for which he later plead ‘no contest’ to disorderly conduct.
Most recently, Jones was arrested on March 26th on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, and reckless use of a firearm. He eventually plead guilty to a DWI and received four days of house arrest as well as assigned community service and a year’s probation. Considering his history – and high profile – the result left some wondering if the UFC shouldn’t take their own actions against Jones, outside the legal system.
Longtime UFC action-fight mainstay, and recently crowned ‘BMF champion’ Jorge Masvidal gave his view on Jones’ punishment in a recent interview with The Dan Le Batard Show. In his mind, given the heavy influence high profile athletes have on younger fans, the UFC should definitely consider instituting some kind of mandatory community service for fighters convicted of a DWI.
“I remember back when I was young and we could be very influenced,” Masvidal said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I don’t want kids thinking that it’s cool for them to go out and drink and drive. You can hurt yourself very bad, but you could actually do something worse and take a whole family. You could do travesties if you’re drunk behind the wheel.
“So, in those regards, there should be things handed (down). If you were caught drinking and driving, you’re gonna have to give type of service back to the community.
“There should be some type of community service back to the public for educational purposes. Let these young minds know that, ‘Hey, this is not cool. This was a mistake that I did, but under no circumstances should you do this and think you can get away with it.’”
As far as actually suspending fighters for getting behind the wheel drunk? For Masivdal, that’s a step to far. “[Fighting]’s all we got, man,” Masvidal said of the idea of a suspension. “Yeah you got to be allowed to fight.”
Coincidentally, it was actually a mostly empty bottle of El Recuerdo mezcal found in Jones’ car when he was arrested. A brand that Masvidal has recently thrown his promotional weight behind, and has been bringing with him to UFC publicity events. No doubt ‘Gamebred’ has provided much more the kind of endorsement the liquor company was looking for when the started courting UFC talent.
Masvidal last competed against Nate Diaz back in November of 2019. His name had come up in recent conversations for a welterweight title shot against Kamaru Usman, but it appears the UFC is moving away from that booking. Hopefully they’ll have something interesting planned for the next time the ATT fighter steps in the cage.