Does Jones arrest hurt Jones, UFC?

May 20, 2012

Jon Jones was arrested on suspicion of DUI in upstate New York early Saturday morning as it was first reported by TMZ. The arrest blemishes the Jon Jones brand as he was easily becoming the face for the UFC.

Jones’ manager, Malki Kawa released a statement in lieu of the arrest:

“I can confirm that Jon Jones was arrested early this morning on suspicion of DUI.  “While the facts of this situation are still being gathered and situated, First Round Management fully supports Jon and we are asking for fans and media to respect the privacy of Jon and his family during this time.”

Although Jones will go through the legal process to determine the facts surrounding the arrest, TMZ reports that Jones crashed his Bentley into a pole and was arrested at the scene.  He was bailed out by his mother a couple hours later.

Payout Perspective:

Drinking and driving is a serious offense.  While we might say that it was a mistake and a stupid thing to do, many innocent people have died due to drunk driving.  With that being said, there have been many professional athletes that have overcome offenses like this (and even worse crimes) without it affecting their careers.  Will it hurt Jones’ sponsorship opportunities?  It certainly will take him off of any beer ads.  How about the blue chip sponsors?  Depending on the facts of the case and how Jones proceeds with this (legally and from a PR standpoint), it may be just a blip on his screen.  Jones may still have a chance at sponsor deals but he may have to wait a while.  If you look at Ray Lewis and Kobe Bryant, they have been able to overcome off the field/court issues to regain sponsors.  Tiger Woods lost major sponsors and his play has not helped him recover from the misdeeds of a couple years ago.

To a lesser extent, the Jones arrest may hurt the UFC.  TMZ’s main picture of Jones has him adorned in a UFC shirt.  Jones is one of the faces of the UFC and a likable figure that sponsors could gravitate toward.  Remember, he stopped a purse snatcher and then won the world title in the same day.  There aren’t too many American fighters that the UFC could promote.  Certainly GSP and Anderson Silva are draws but Jones is the only true big star coming from the US right now.  Will it hurt the UFC’s quest for blue chip sponsors?  While it could harm the potential for sponsors, I don’t think it would affect it in any way.  It probably would have been a bigger deal if he tested positive for an illegal substance.

It would be in the best interest of Jones to accept responsibility and move forward.  He could cut PSAs about his mistake and the perils of driving while under the influence.  Not sure if the UFC really needs to punish Jones  right now.  It wouldn’t hurt to remind its fighters to be responsible when out and have a driver if they decide to have a little fun.

5 Responses to “Does Jones arrest hurt Jones, UFC?”

  1. michael on May 21st, 2012 1:53 AM

    Maybe he can find a cab company to sponsor his next fight ;)

  2. Nick on May 21st, 2012 3:46 AM

    I don’t know how the law is in NY, but at least in MO, with the help of a lawyer, the 1st offense is almost always removed from your record. Also, nobody knows any facts of the case yet, and there have been plenty of people arrested for DUI, then later had charges dropped after th facts come out. This looks bad for the UFC’s squeaky clean champ, but the story has been relatively quiet over the weekend.

  3. Diego on May 21st, 2012 9:11 AM

    It definitely hurts him regardless of the legal outcome (I’m sure it will be plead out), but it’s far from insurmountable. If he keeps performing well, the sponsors will continue to roll in. This is no more than a brief lull.

    My biggest problem is that he was driving a Bentley. Really? Are you an old English chap? Do you pass the Grey Poupon (sp)? You’re the face of American fighting, get yourself a muscle car. I’m not chanting “USA” on behalf of someone who drives a Bentley.

  4. Diego on May 21st, 2012 9:16 AM

    Oh yeah, and Malki Kawa asking everyone to respect the fighter’s privacy is a big steaming pile of whatever. You can ask that if Jones had suffered a personal tragedy, but not for a DUI. Jones chose to make his living in a public space, to develop a public image and monetize by signing endorsement deals, and that means when he does something that runs contrary to his crafted public image it’s fair game. You don’t get to have it both ways. We’ll cheer you when you stop a thief from taking an lady’s purse and boo you when you crash your Bentley into a pole. That’s how it works.

  5. Bruce on May 21st, 2012 7:00 PM

    DUI is such a common crime within society that I hardly think this will affect the sport in any way whatsoever. Anheuser Busch cares much about gay slurs etc. but I doubt they will raise a fuss over this.

    Can’t this dude afford a driver by now?

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