It's time for Jon Jones to go away after another failed drug test
Jones' failed drug tests have cast a shadow over potentially the greatest mixed martial artist ever
Out of chances in the court of public appeal and not deserving of any more of the public's trust, it's time for Jon Jones to simply go away.
Seem a bit harsh? Well, it can't be as stiff as the left kick to the head Jones used to concuss and stop Daniel Cormier at UFC 214, one day after submitting a drug test sample that was-- reportedly an anabolic steroid.
Jones (23-1) didn't just screw up his career this time around, a recurring theme over the last three years,, an honorable former champion who spent the majority of his reign either chasing Jones or having his identity as champion consumed by the fact that he never beat him.
Throughout each step of Jones' tour de transgression, which featured twice being stripped of UFC titles, he has been forgiven. From recreational drug abuse to an arrest for leaving the scene of an accident that he caused while in possession of drugs, the critical witch hunt against Jones' questionable character has always been offset by the longing to see his sublime talent one day reach fulfillment.
In its quarter century of existence, the sport of mixed martial arts has seen many great fighters but none with the exact "chosen one" essence of Jones, 30, who made greatness always seem so effortless. In many ways, this contributed to his undoing.
After defeating Cormier in their long-awaited rematch last month, Jones seemed well on his way to finally finding out how great he can be. Once again claiming to be a changed man, Jones reaffirmed his status as not just the pound-for-pound best but likely the greatest of all-time. It had all the makings of a feel-good story.
The narratives, admittedly, were hard to repeal. If Jones had been able to accomplish such greatness while willingly compromising himself through drug use during the week of his biggest fights, what type of legend could he become if he put everything he had into it?
With his lost years behind him, Jones appeared ready to take on his toughest challenge to date ---- in a move that could've sealed mixed martial arts immortality if successful.
But despite the freak-like natural gifts and rock-solid intangibles like toughness and laser focus that Johnny "Bones," the fighter, relied upon inside the Octagon, Jonathan Dwight Jones proved he's nothing but a mortal man outside of it.
Throughout a roller coaster run since making his UFC debut in 2008, Jones has constantly evolved his identities from unknown to phenom, champion to legend, cautionary tale to reborn star. Now, Jones is at best a cheater and at worst a fraud.
Many were willing to give him a pass when he tested positive for a pair of banned substances last July ahead of UFC 200, which saw him serve a one-year suspension. Jones fought back tears after being pulled from the main event and blamed a sexual-enhancement pill for popping his test.
But following Tuesday's reveal and anwhere he arrogantly refuted the idea that his success had been fueled by performance-enhancing drugs, Jones' entire career must come under complete scrutiny like any other athlete caught seeking an unfair advantage.
Jones has done irreparable damage to his name and legacy, but that's ultimately on him. The ripple effect of his transgressions affect many others.
UFC never needed Jones' star power more than they do this calendar year with pay-per-view sales struggling under new ownership and the majority of big-name fighters sitting idle for the first half of 2017 (everyone from Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey to Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Nate Diaz and Cody Garbrandt).
But the biggest victim of all is Cormier, who will likely get handed back the title he lost as some form of bittersweet consolation prize that only clouds how we rank him historically. Cormier must now try to make sense of the haunting years he lost pursuing his own legacy by chasing a man who may have exposed himself as nothing more than a ghost.
Jones could face anywhere between a two- and four-year USADA suspension once "the process," as UFC president Dana White described it late Tuesday, gets sorted out. And while he deserves a chance to come clean and explain himself, that doesn't mean he deserves the right for you to believe him.
He has worn out his welcome in his own sport. It's time for Jon Jones to take a hike and fulfill his legacy as a person before ever again attempting the same as a fighter.
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