UFC fighter Jon Jones has a public perception problem. Criticism for repeated eye poking, and a conviction for DUI in 2012 didn’t help. And despite proudly displaying a Philippians 4:13tattoo on his chest, and proving to be one of the organization’s more historically dominant champions, critics have routinely questioned his authenticity.
“This guy is such a fake human being,” his UFC 182 opponent Daniel Cormier complained. “He’s a fake individual . . . He’s weak. He’s a punk, he’s a liar, he’s dishonest. He’s a whole bunch of things that he should not be proud of being.”
Those somewhat subjective assaults on his moral character gained a bit of momentum when Jones tested positive for using cocaine recently. He even appears to have at least mislead the Nevada Athletic Commission when he testified under oath regarding the cause of his failed sponsorship relationship with Nike. But today, an alleged “friend of a friend” who went to high school with Jones may have finally settled the moral controversy. If the evidence he or she provided is authentic, Jon Jones may have been using a fake identity for years.
In this photo, an affectionate “Jonathon Jones” poses for his yearbook. At first glance, the spelling of his first name, although novel, is harmless. But on this police report for his November 24, 2011, traffic incident involving his 2012 Bentley, he went by the name “Jonathan D. Jones.” There is no telling which identity is authentic. But it probably doesn’t matter. The discrepancy is one more troubling bit of evidence the embattled fighter will have to explain if he wishes to salvage a positive public image.