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Sonnen: Keeping Jon Jones in the UFC is a ‘bigger punishment’ than cutting him

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Many people are calling for Jon Jones’ UFC release, but Chael Sonnen thinks keeping him signed is more punishing.

Jon Jones as the light heavyweight champion at the UFC 247 press conference.
Jon Jones as the light heavyweight champion at the UFC 247 press conference.
Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

There’s no question that Jon Jones’ recent run-in with the law is a clear violation of the UFC’s code of conduct. Fines, suspension, and cessation of service may be imposed as sanctions following a full investigation of the incident.

From a PR standpoint, it would make sense for the UFC to cut ties with “Bones” at this point. But according to Chael Sonnen, keeping the controversial fighter around could be a harsher sanction.

“If Jon were to be released, I understand his value would diminish tremendously. His value is only worth whatever the market brings. If the biggest player goes out, your market comes down. All the same, you’re back to being active,” Sonnen explained in a recent video he released on his YouTube channel.

“A bigger punishment, in some ways, is to keep him doing what he’s doing right now. He does not have a sponsor to speak of. He does not have a paycheck of any kind coming in. He does not have an active license. He does not have a contract, something to look forward to.

“In some ways, if you’re one of those negative people that just want to punish Jon, you may wanna rethink this whole pressure on Dana to release him. Keeping him right where he is, freezing and/or suspending the contract but keeping him under contract, keeps him unemployed. That’s a damn big punishment. In all fairness, that’s a damn big punishment.”

The UFC has yet to take action as it waits for the legal proceedings to finish. Company president Dana White also sees Jones’ recent troubles as a typical occurrence in the fight business, which rightfully drew criticisms.

Sonnen now encourages critics to ease up on the bossman and the company for how they’re handling the situation.

“I would really encourage you, lay off Dana. Dana did nothing wrong. When I say Dana, the entire UFC, they did nothing wrong. They did something very nice. They put on a beautiful event. They welcomed him and recognized him. They’ve done everything right,” he said.

“So please don’t turn the gun on them as they’re trying to process this.”

The 34-year-old Jones was charged with misdemeanor battery domestic and a felony for headbutting and subsequently damaging a police vehicle. He is due for a court date on October 26.