Jon Jones: Public Enemy Number One?
When speaking of Jon Jones, the first thought most people would have is that he has a ton of talent and athletic ability and is destined for stardom. That ability and talent took him to the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in less than three years after making his pro debut, making him the youngest UFC champion ever in any division. Quite an accomplishment.
But for all his physical maturity, the biggest criticism directed against Jones is that he is not quite as mature mentally as he is physically. A perfect example of this is in an interview with WithLeather, where Jones is asked about what he would change in MMA.
Jones: It’s a silly one. I would get rid of the replica belts.
Interviewer: Like the ones they sell at the events?
Jones: Yeah. I hate it when people come up to me with a belt that looks exactly like mine and they ask me to sign it. I worked three times a day for three years to get this [light heavyweight championship] belt, and now this guy asking me for an autograph has one just like it. Are you serious? I mean it’s not as heavy, but it looks just the same.
Interviewer: I like that. I don’t think it’s silly at all.
Jones: I never sign those belts.
Uh, what? No, Jones, are YOU serious? That’s the one thing you’d change about MMA? Not the judging? Not the scoring? Not the refereeing? I don’t even know what to say to that.
It is perfectly logical and acceptable for a fan to ask you, or any fighter for that matter, to autograph memorabilia. They may not have trained for hours a day and fought for that belt, but they put in 40 hours a week, 51 weeks a year, to buy that belt and purchase that ticket to see you compete. And if you’re upset about the belts, the UFC, your employer, sells them for just such an occasion.
I don’t see NBA or NFL or MLB players refusing to sign basketballs, helmets or bats. You know why? Because that’s stupid, for lack of a better word. It’s downright petty. You do know that your belt has real gold and real diamonds in it, right?
The point is, that fan that wanted you to sign a belt he didn’t “earn” pays your salary. That very same fan buys the $49.99 pay-per-view show you are performing on. Shun him and you won’t get paid. Seems easy to grasp, no?
Now, on the opposite side of the spectrum, someone who really gets it, Urijah Faber. Faber is a fan favorite and everyone loves him every where he goes. Why? Because he makes time for the fans. He gets it.
And when he’s asked the very same question, Faber answers with an actual solution to a problem in MMA.
Faber: I’d like to see, and I’m on the positive side of this, I’d like to see the less marketable guys taken care of. That’s one thing. Another thing is the judging. It’s terrible. I think there needs to be a serious call to action to make sure these judges know what the hell they’re talking about. It’s unfortunate when you got a guy who has spent his whole life to getting good at all these things not getting credit for what he’s doing in the cage. Striking, wrestling…I don’t think the average judge knows what they’re doing.
The answer would be a judging commission, get them licensed, make them go through a process. Maybe they’re fighters or coaches in the sport before they can be a judge.
You see, Jones, that’s how you answer the question. You don’t bang on the fan and say something petty. Even if you feel that way, you keep it to yourself. I think it’s time to mentally grow up.
As it stands, it seems Rashad Evans was correct when he stated that Jon Jones is fake and the real Jon Jones will come out sooner or later and that we’d find out he’s not this humble, likable guy.