by Jody Kohn
As he climbed the ranks of the UFC, Jon Jones was promoted as the ultimate good guy. A fighter who was as kind and soft spoken outside the ring as he was fierce and innovative inside it. At first the fans were almost unanimously behind him. His showstopping skills were the talk of message boards everywhere. He was constantly touted as the future greatest of all team, even before he won his first title. But as is the case with most things, the more popular you become, the more people want to tear you down.
What may have started with little things like mentioned above, certainly began to snowball as Jones started to fight the legends of the sport. It’s one thing to beat on the Ryan Bader’s and Brandon Vera’s of the world, but it’s an entirely different matter when you easily dispatch of such mma snob icons as Shogun Rua and Lyoto Machida. That can’t be tolerated, especially by some young, arrogant black kid. That goes against everything they believe in. It’s the same reason Brock Lesnar was despised. You must not be able to dominate this sport without paying your dues!
Anyway, after the Shogun, Rampage, and Machida victories, the guns were off and the anti-Jones crowd was out in full force. No matter what Jones did, it was always going to be under a microscope. If it was a negative, it would be inflated to be much worse than it was. If it was a positive, it would be somehow turned into a negative. No matter what Jones does, it won’t matter at this point. So when he was arrested under suspicion of DUI this morning, you knew this was going to go out of control. People are going to pile on excessively. I am not saying that he doesn’t deserve to get called out for this problem. He certainly does. But ask yourself if it were any other fighter would they get this much hatred? What if it were Dan Henderson or GSP? It’s likely they wouldn’t have been under nearly the same scrutiny.
I think of Jones as the UFC’s version of Lebron James (except Jones knows how to win a championship). They are both if not the absolute best at their sport, very close to it. And with that title comes a lot of jealousy and hatred. People like to see the mighty fall, especially when they, like Lebron and Jones seem to have elevated their self worth in their own minds, putting themselves above the common folks. When you act superior, people can’t wait to bring you down to their level. Although James is clearly an elitist who thinks of himself as superior to everyone, I think Jones might not be as bad as he is being accused of. He is still young and he will make his share of mistakes. How many of us made stupid mistakes at his age? We were just lucky enough not to do it in front of millions of people begging for us to slip up so they could point a finger. Hopefully Jones will learn from this and make the necessary adjustments he needs to make to become both a great fighter and human being.