MMA News

Jon Jones says critics who call him a cheater just don't want to give him credit. Is he right?

By

on


Jon Jones hasn’t made things easy on himself. Not ever. Not in any way. Not even when he had all the tools necessary to make otherwise complicated questions seem uncommonly simple.

Especially that one question: Is Jones the best fighter on the planet?

If you want an especially annoying fight on your hands, go ahead and ask a bunch of MMA fans. Ask it on Twitter if you want to really screw up your own mentions for a day or two. See if you don’t hear it from both sides, with neither of them willing to admit that there’s even a little room for argument.

Of course he’s the greatest, says one side. Just look at his resume.

But those drug tests, says the other. How can we think of you as the best if we can’t even be sure whether or not you’ve been cheating to win?

The question is so inextricably tied up with Jones’ complicated legacy that he even faces it among friends, apparently. Recently, while appearing on his longtime gym’s podcast, Jones was asked to respond to critics who might say “that there’s an asterisk” next to his name in the MMA record books.

“What would I say to that?” Jones said. “I would say that those would be people who are looking for an excuse not to give it to me, not to give credit where it’s due.”

As you might expect, this explanation found immediate support among his colleagues at Jackson Wink MMA. So too did his insistence that the amount of steroid metabolites found in his system during his latest drug test failure was “so small that there was no way possible to affect my performance in a positive or negative way.”

Both the amount of the drug and the timing of when it was found, Jones said, makes it “pretty obvious this was an accident.” And the time before that? Well, who hasn’t heard by now the saga of the contaminated sex pill? Unlike others who’ve tried that defense, Jones was actually able to prove it in a case that resulted in the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency labeling him “imprudent,” but specifically not a cheater.

“To anybody who would say, ‘Well, he must have been cheating,’ it’s like, OK,” Jones said. “After what I just said, if you still want to call me a cheater, you just don’t want to admit that I’m (expletive) pretty good at this.”

There’s something to this, even if the man pointing us to that conclusion is a deeply flawed messenger.

It’s true that a lot of people just don’t like Jones. It’s also true that he’s given them plenty of reasons to feel that way. His record behind the wheel of a car is almost enough all by itself. Then there’s all the other stuff, like the online trolling, the two-faced public and private personas, and the total unwillingness to accept responsibility for the fact that most of his issues are entirely self-caused.

You can see how people might not like this guy. You can also see how that dislike might encourage them to take a less sympathetic view of his drug test history – not to mention his repeated use of the accidental contamination defense.

But there are some things that just don’t fit with our understanding of how these things usually work. Jones isn’t like some other well known MMA dopers, whose fortunes rose and fell along with their rapidly changing body types. In fact, when he showed up looking especially bulky after a long layoff following yet another vehicular misdeed, it seemed to hinder more than help him.

Jones started off in this sport as a prodigy, became a true professional, then morphed quickly into a dominant champion. Even when he was known to be using drugs of the non-enhancing variety, he still seemed light years ahead of his peers. If anything, he seemed more interested in abusing his body than in skirting the rules to improve it. Still he has yet to meet his equal in the cage.

What are we supposed to do with a guy like that, especially when he can’t seem to get out of his way long enough to give us a clear view? On one hand, he’s right that there are some people out there who just don’t want to give him credit. On the other, he could make it a lot easier on himself if he’d stop failing drug tests.

For now, Jones seems to have become MMA’s walking Rorschach test. If you want to look at him and see the greatest to ever do it, you can. If you’d rather see an unrepentant cheater, you can probably manage that as well.

If you’re really ambitious, maybe you could even find a way to do both.

For more on the upcoming UFC schedule, visit the UFC Rumors section of the site.



Source link

Recommended for you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *