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‘It’s not a mistake anymore. It’s habit,’ Bellator champ Ryan Bader discusses Jon Jones’ latest arrest

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Bader shared his thoughts on his former opponent’s latest legal woes.

Ryan Bader and Jon Jones met in the UFC Octagon on February 5, 2011. That fight ended via guillotine. The victor, Jones, faced ‘Shogun’ Rua in his next fight for the UFC light heavyweight title. The rest is history. Though, thanks to Jones’ off the field issues, it’s an extremely controversial history.

Jones’ present is also controversial for matters not related to the sport of MMA. Recently he was arrested at a hotel in Las Vegas and charged with battery domestic violence. It is alleged that one of Jones’ children asked hotel staff to call police after an incident involving their mother, Jones’ long-time fiancée.

Bader was a recent guest on MMA Fighting’s Fighter vs. Writer podcast, where he discussed his former opponent and the fallout from this latest arrest.

“People make mistakes — we don’t know all the facts or whatever — but if he did put hands on a woman, his fiancée, that’s the biggest scumbag move you can do and he should be gone if he did that, plain and simple,” Bader said. “People make mistakes but when you keep making them over and over and over again, it’s not a mistake anymore. It’s a habit.”

Bader then went on to echo what other characters around MMA have said of Jones lately; that he needs a better support network around him and he needs to avoid alcohol.

“It’s the people around you, too. He’s gotta have somebody to say ‘hey, I know you’re in Vegas and you got inducted to the Hall of Fame, let’s just go in the hotel suite and party or whatever, we don’t need to be out.’ Keep it contained a little while. I think it’s the people around him that need to step up, too. Obviously, mistakes are going to be made but when you keep making them, something’s got to change. When you go to Vegas, maybe don’t go out. Go out around your friends at home or whatever it is.”

“I’ve had friends, they start drinking and they’ll end up 300 miles away in Tijuana or something like that,” continued Bader. “But you get to a certain point where that’s enough or you get to a certain age where like alcohol’s a problem, I’m not going to drink or if I’m going to drink, I’m going to drink with my wife or with a couple friends at the house. I’m not going to go anywhere. Then you compound that with you’re a famous athlete. You’re Jon Jones, one of the best fighters in the world, everybody’s looking at you and noting everything that you do, you’ve got to be super careful.

“You would think there would be a breaking point. Like he said, he has trouble with alcohol — don’t drink alcohol, especially when you’re in Vegas and you have an event, people know you’re there. It’s one of those things, you’ve got to tighten up. If you want to indulge, do it in a safe place where you know you’re not going to get into trouble. It goes back to that putting hands on a female, that’s inexcusable.”

After losing to Jones, Bader went 10-4 versus UFC competition and left the company in 2017. He won his first five fights in Bellator, earning that promotion’s light heavyweight title in his debut win over Phil Davis and the heavyweight crown by TKO’ing Fedor Emelianenko in 2019.

Since then he successfully defended his heavyweight title to Cheick Kongo (via a no contest), dropped the 205 lb title to Vadim Nemkov and defeated Lyoto Machida—last time out—at Bellator 256 in April.

He is expected to face Corey Anderson at Bellator 268 on October 16 in the Bellator light heavyweight world grand prix semi-finals.