Jon Jones admits he's not completely sober heading into UFC 232

Jon Jones is returning from the third suspension of his career at UFC 232. (AP Photo)
Jon Jones is returning from the third suspension of his career at UFC 232. (AP Photo)

As Jon Jones prepares for his latest comeback with his fight against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 in December, how he got to this point is one of the stories gripping the MMA world.

Arguably the most talented fighter in MMA history, Jones has participated in just two fights in the last three years and none since July 2017, a title win over Daniel Cormier that was later stripped away due to a positive turinabol test. Multiple performance-enhancing drug suspensions and a constant struggle with alcohol and drugs have laid waste to the fighter’s reputation and legacy.

Now 31 years old and finally allowed back in the octagon after a lengthy PED suspension, Jones spoke with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani and revealed that he isn’t currently sober, but does believe he is in control of his addictions.

Jon Jones discusses his sobriety

A partial transcript of the interview:

Would it be fair to call you sober now?

No. No, I still drink. Smoke pot too every once in a while.

Are you at a good place?

Yeah. Yeah, I’m at a very healthy place. Well, I mean, I don’t know, who knows?

Did you tell your coaches?

My coaches know I drink. I’m done trying to hide being–

A lot?

Not like a crazy, crazy amount. Some weekends, mainly on the weekends.

Do you want to be sober?

It’s something that I was striving for, especially going to rehab this summer. I was striving for complete sobriety. I’m not ready for it. It’s not who I was and not who I am in my life and my career.

That’s an interesting and surprisingly forward response from Jones. It is frequently heard from athletes and celebrities struggling with addiction that they have gone completely sober; much rarer is the one who admits he/she still occasionally partakes.

Are Jon Jones’ comments worrying?

Jones indicated he was sober two years ago, but something could have possibly changed since then. There isn’t anything inherently wrong with that; addiction can be a major struggle with steps forward and back. However, the fighter’s comments are also something that Dana White and company probably don’t want to hear.

Hopefully, Jones is still in full control, and, ignoring his track record, there are few reasons to believe he isn’t now. The MMA world is in a much better place when he’s in the octagon and not appearing before the State Athletic Commissions for various infractions.

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