Jon Jones faces a four-year suspension following yet another failed drug test. But UFC commissioner Dana White sounds like he’s done dealing with Jones regardless of the outcome of the fighter’s December hearing.
“Whatever happens [with his suspension], happens. Believe me, I’m not mentally or emotionally invested in that anymore,” White told The TSN MMA Show.
White expressed his frustration with the 30-year-old light heavyweight who’s been stripped of a record three title belts, calling him the biggest waste of talent “ever, in all sports.”
“The guy is so talented and gifted, god knows what he’d be doing right now if he had never got in trouble,” White continued. “He could possibly be the heavyweight champion and have the defense record that couldn’t be broken. The list goes on and on of what could’ve been with Jon Jones.”
In 2011, a 23-year-old Jones became the youngest champion in UFC history when he took the light heavyweight title from Maurício Rua, then set a record for consecutive and total title defenses in the division.
His title was stripped after an October 2015 hit-and-run arrest. He then had the light heavyweight title stripped two more times, stemming from failed drug tests.
Jones’ coach Mike Winkeljohn has acknowledged that a four-year suspension could mean the end of Jones’ career.
“If it’s a four-year thing, I think it could be just that kind of devastation (that ends Jon’s career), and which like I said, it’s not fair, you know?” Winkeljohn said in September. “He messed up in that maybe he took something that someone said was fine, but he’s not doing it thinking, ‘I’m taking steroids or something,’ you know, and that’s the part that’s terrible. He’d be devastated at four years. Who knows, you know? That’s a long time to just spiral downhill where bad things can happen. So that one scares me. If it’s a year (suspension) Jon Jones will come back and dominate the world again, I do believe.”
But if Jones’ suspension is lifted by the court, take White’s proclamation that he’s done fretting over Jones with a grain of salt—he made a similar claim following Jones’ first drug suspension, when he failed a test ahead of UFC 200.
“I would never take the risk of headlining a show with Jon Jones again,” White said. “I’d put him on the card. But I wouldn’t headline with him until he consistently gets back on track.”
Eight months later, Jones was headlining UFC 214.