Chael Sonnen: If the UFC releases Jon Jones, it will have no control over him

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Chael Sonnen doesn’t think the UFC should release Jon Jones following his latest run-in with the law.

Jones finds himself facing legal issues yet again after he was arrested and booked into jail by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on charges of misdemeanor battery domestic violence and felony tampering with a vehicle following his UFC Hall of Fame induction ahead of UFC 266 in late September.

It’s no secret Sonnen isn’t a fan of his former foe, but the multiple-time title challenger and current analyst thinks by keeping Jones on the roster, the UFC already is penalizing him.

“If you want Jon Jones cut, my next question is: Why?” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “That answer would be obvious: to hurt him – to punish him, right? Are you sure you want him cut, then? If you want to hurt him and/or punish him, are you sure that you want him cut?

“If you release a guy, you have no control over that guy and you can attempt to guess what the market will bear. But if you still have him under contract, you will control that answer. And if you release Jon Jones with the spirit of hurting him in mind, you see where it starts to become a problem.”

Jones (26-1 MMA, 20-1 UFC), who’s been prepping for his heavyweight debut ever since he relinquished his 205-pound belt, hasn’t competed since edging out Dominick Reyes in February 2020. Jones asked for an increase in pay to challenge heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou and after a disagreement with the UFC brass, he frustratedly asked for his release and was ultimately shelved for the rest of the year, which Sonnen thinks is a punishment of its own.

“Since the night Jon fought Dominick Reyes, they haven’t handed Jon a paycheck,” Sonnen said. “Jon is unemployed. Jon is currently unlicensed. There’s steps and hoops to go through. He does not have sponsors. He’s not in the process of writing a book. He does not have an autograph signing coming up. He does not put on seminars. In all fairness, that’s a big punishment. You economically sanction somebody – for goodness sake, world powers do this to one another. It is that effective. It is that damaging. So if the idea of releasing Jon is coming from a standpoint of, ‘I want to punish him – I want to stick it to him …'”

Following his arrest, Jones released a statement vowing to quit drinking. White agreed that the former UFC light heavyweight king has a problem with alcohol, but did not answer directly when asked if he would consider releasing Jones, claiming he’ll wait and see how things play out legally. Despite the alarming audio from the 911 call made by a Caesars Palace security guard suggesting that Jones’ fiancee was terrified, Jones recently posted, then deleted a video of him kissing her, perhaps as a way to convince people things are OK between them.

Prior to his arrest, Jones said he’s targeting a return in the second quarter of 2022 and that White promised him an increase in pay that would likely be pay-per-view-based. He joked that since he’s not very good at selling fights, he will “try to do more legally controversial sh*t” so he could sell more pay-per-views.

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