UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been stripped of his title effective immediately and is suspended from the promotion indefinitely.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement via "FOX Sports Live" on Tuesday night.
Jones was arrested on Monday in Albuquerque on allegations of leaving the scene of an accident, which is a felony charge in New Mexico due to one of the drivers suffering a fractured wrist and arm. The injured driver, later identified as Vanessa Sonnenberg, was taken to the hospital because she is pregnant and felt like she might pass out at the scene.
Jones was sought as a "person of interest" in the hit-and-run accident, but the Albuquerque police eventually upgraded him to a suspect before issuing a warrant for his arrest on felony charges for leaving the scene of an accident. Jones eventually surrendered to police on Monday before being released on $2,500 bond.
White said he finally spoke to Jones on Tuesday to get his side of the story before the promotion took any action against him.
"He didn’t say a lot. Obviously, he’s got to handle his legal proceedings," White said. "His lawyer didn’t have him say much. What we wanted to find out is what the facts were. There’s a lot of things that are being said out there about what happened that day, a lot of them are untrue, a lot of them are speculation, and we wanted to hear Jon’s side of the story and we wanted to hear what his lawyer had to say about it."
Jones hasn’t spoken publicly since the incident outside of a message he released on Twitter on Tuesday.
Got a lot of soul searching to do. Sorry to everyone I've let down.
Once White got the information he required, the UFC moved swiftly to strip Jones of his light heavyweight title while suspending him indefinitely. Jones was set to face Anthony Johnson in the main event of UFC 187 before he was suspended. Now, Jones’ hated rival Daniel Cormier will take his place in the May 23 fight as the new main event with the light heavyweight title on the line.
"Obviously he’s very disappointed," White said. "He’s upset, he wanted to go down as one of the greatest ever, but it is what it is. It was the decision we had to make."
As far as Jones’ future with the UFC, that remains up the air.
Under the UFC’s code of conduct policy, the promotion has the right to suspend Jones indefinitely for behavior detrimental to the organization. UFC officials haven’t placed a time limit on how long Jones will remain suspended or indicated if he’ll ever fight in the Octagon again.
"I don’t now what’s going to happen," White said candidly. "We have suspended him indefinitely. Obviously he needs to focus on his legal matters."
According to the police report, Jones was identified at the scene of the accident by an off-duty police officer who witnessed the three-car crash. Paperwork belonging to "Jonathan Jones" was found in the vehicle he was driving along with a marijuana pipe with marijuana in it.
The District Attorney from Bernalillo Count has 60 days to take Jones’ case before the grand jury to seek an indictment against the fighter. The felony charges carry a penalty of up to three years in prison.