Former UFC Champion Jon Jones Opens Up About 'Former' Drug Problem

By McCarton Ackerman 12/01/15

The former champ Jones admitted developing addictions to marijuana and alcohol during his reign.

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Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is opening up about his drug problem, but his version of recovery wouldn’t be accepted among many medical professionals.

Jones admitted to partying excessively and developing addictions to marijiuana and alcohol during his reign as champion, which he justified by still winning the majority of his fights with ease. He acknowledged that his arrogance “was part of the problem” and believes he could have done even more had he stayed on a more regimented path.

“I was a guy who loved to party. I was able to win my fights. I would go out on the weekend and then on Monday morning I'd be the first guy at practice, working harder than everybody else,” he told MMA Fighting. “So, I felt as though I could get away with that ... I really developed the attitude of ‘I can have fun and still do my job.’”

He has been in trouble both with the sport and law enforcement over his drug use. Jones was arrested for DUI in May 2012, after he crashed his car into a pole in Binghamton, NY. It was then announced last January that Jones had tested positive for cocaine, although he insists it’s the first and only time he had used the drug. He was fined $25,000 by the UFC and went into rehab for all of one night.

Jones was arrested last April for hit and run. Officers at the scene also found a marijuana pipe in his car. UFC responded by stripping him of his title and suspending him indefinitely. Jones pleaded guilty last September to leaving the scene of an accident and was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation.

Jones said he hasn’t drank or smoked marijuana for the last “three or four months,” but insists that he is someone who was once an addict. He admitted that his recovery amounted to going “cold turkey” without any additional treatment, but that it’s all he needed to get his life on track.

"I'm honestly excited to be set free from that. It took me a long time to acknowledge that I had a little bit of a problem ... but now that I’m completely sober, I totally had a problem,” he said. "I'm upset about all the hours I spent being under the influence, and all the hours I spent getting under the influence. My life has changed for the better in so many different ways since this car accident. I'm grateful for it."

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.