I’m not going to claim to know former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones anymore than probably 99-percent of those reading this.
However, thanks to living where Jones starred as a junior college national wrestling champion, I have been privileged to both seeing the super-talented mixed martial artist up-close-and-personal.
And heard many of the stories that most are starting to believe first-hand.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, hate the internet or just don’t care – which would make it weird you are reading this – Jones was involved in an alleged hit-and-run this past weekend in New Mexico. A young pregnant woman was left with a broken arm, which upped the charge vs. Jones to that of a felony.
After posting his bond, Jones appeared in court and was cleared to continue training and even travel to Las Vegas for his upcoming planned title defense vs. Anthony Johnson. UFC officials, though, stripped “Bones” of the belt and suspended him indefinitely as the legal process plays itself out.
This isn’t the first run-in with the law for Jones, as he was previously booked on a DUI charge after crashing his Bentley. He also was found to have tested positive for cocaine during a pre-fight drug test ahead of his defense vs. Daniel Cormier.
Now, I’m not going to bash Jones like many have done and call him out, citing his need to grow up, become more of a “man,” or this, that and the other thing.
As I said, I’ve heard many of the stories involving Jon Jones while he was a young athlete in college in small-town Iowa. Yes, there is not much to do in Fort Dodge, where Iowa Central is based, especially for someone from New York who had one of the biggest cities in the world right around the corner.
Iowa Central built itself up as quite the powerhouse in the junior college wrestling ranks, as Jones, UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez, one-time title contender Joe Soto, Colby Covington and several others have all graced the campus and shined.
Covington for one mentioned some interesting encounters involving Jones and other college kids while the two – along with Soto – were roommates in 2006-07.
That means Jones was nothing more than an 18- and 19-year old kid, countless states away from the reach of his mother and father, living his live by himself for the first time.
Let’s remember what kind of troubles we got into as an 18- and 19-year-old – especially when the parents were gone.
Over time, though, we learn to grow up and become the kind of man and woman that our parents raised us to be. Jones, for one, had an incredibly strong family, as his two brothers are both current National Football League players.
But somewhere along the lines, maybe by his decision to give up continuing wrestling at Morrisville State College after his run at Iowa Central, Jones remained stuck in the mind of an 18-year-old.
He transitioned nicely to MMA, but it was quite evident there was something just not 100-percent on board with becoming the star everyone wanted to make him out to be.
Jones found the fans turning on him from a fighting aspect, which shocked most. Typically, UFC fans are hard to upset, especially if you are a gifted athlete who is doing things nobody has ever seen before.