Jon Jones pleads guilty to hit-and-run, gets closer to UFC reinstatement
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident. As part of the deal, Jones will avoid jail time and instead be on supervised probation for up to 18 months.
As Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com notes, the plea agreement will allow Jones to avoid a formal felony charge if he meets certain conditions. Jones does not have to pay any fines or fees, but he has been ordered to make 72 appearances at charity or youth outreach programs. The court has granted his request to not restrict travel that pertains to his fighting career.
New Mexico court Judge Charles W. Brown told Jones he “got real lucky,” and it’s hard not to agree. Jones was accused of running a red light back on April 26 and fleeing the scene of a three-car accident. Witnesses saw him leave the scene on foot before returning to retrieve something from his vehicle. A pregnant woman was treated for an arm injury after the crash, and police reportedly found marijuana in Jones’ car.
Jones also has a history of getting into trouble, so it is somewhat of a surprise that the court was lenient with him. In 2012, he crashed his Bentley into a telephone pole in New York and pleaded guilty to drunk driving. Then in January we learned that Jones tested positive for cocaine prior to his UFC 182 fight with Daniel Cormier.
Jones was stripped of his title and suspended indefinitely by the UFC after the hit-and-run, but Dana White said Tuesday that the organization will soon discuss Jones’ possible reinstatement.
“The UFC organization is aware that Jon Jones reached a plea agreement with authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this morning stemming from charges associated with a motor vehicle accident earlier this year,” White wrote in a statement. “As a result, UFC, through Las Vegas-based law firm Campbell & Williams, will thoroughly review the agreement before discussing Jones’ possible reinstatement to return to competition.”
After hearing what his trainer said a few months ago, it seemed like Jones’ career was in jeopardy. Thanks to a favorable plea deal, he will likely be back fighting again soon.