UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones appeared in an Albuquerque court for the first time Tuesday after his arrest on accusations that he fled the scene of a hit-and-run accident Sunday that left at least one driver — a pregnant woman — with a fractured wrist and arm.
Jones is facing a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injuries. He came to court under a standard "felony first appearance," according to Bernalillo County Court spokeswoman Camille Cordova, who spoke with FOX Sports on Tuesday.
No arguments were made in court Tuesday, nor did Jones give a formal plea. Instead, Judge Maria Dominguez and Jones’ attorney, Vincent Ward, discussed his release from jail and the conditions he must adhere to during his time out of jail.
Jones was given "standard conditions of release," which means he’s not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs, cannot enter a liquor store during the time he’s released, cannot commit further violations of the law and must stay in constant contact with his attorney.
Under those conditions, Jones will remain out of police custody on the $2,500 bond he posted late Monday evening, hours after turning himself into authorities. Jones stands accused of leaving the scene of an accident, and because of the injury to at least one of the other drivers, it carries possible felony charges with a penalty of up to three years in prison.
Jones’ attorney did confirm with the judge that no travel restrictions have been placed on the UFC light heavyweight champion, which means he is still allowed to go to Las Vegas for his fight on May 23 against Anthony Johnson at UFC 187. The UFC, however, has made no further comment on Jones’ situation or his status on the fight card, other than saying it is aware and "will reserve further comment until more information is available."
According to the arrest warrant, witnesses said that Jones ran from a crash Sunday that hospitalized a pregnant woman but quickly came back to grab "a large handful of cash" from the car.
The accident occurred in southeastern Albuquerque just before noon Sunday when the driver of a rented SUV ran a red light, police said. The driver, whom an off-duty officer identified as Jones, ran from the scene but then returned for the cash before fleeing again.
"Witnesses stated he shoved the cash into his pants and ran north," according to the arrest warrant. Officers found a pipe with marijuana in the SUV as well as MMA and rental car documents in Jones’ name, according to the police report.
Jones’ appearance in court ended with the onus back on the district attorney’s office on whether it will take the case before a grand jury.
If the grand jury chooses to indict the fighter, Jones will have another court appearance date set where he will officially make his plea in the case.
Although he is widely considered the world’s best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist, Jones has endured legal problems and questionable behavior as champion.
Jones was arrested in 2012 after crashing his Bentley into a telephone pole in Binghamton, New York. He had his driver’s license suspended after being charged with DWI, but did no jail time.
Last August, Jones and challenger Daniel Cormier were involved in a brawl in the lobby of the MGM Grand casino while appearing at a promotional event. Jones was fined $50,000 and ordered to do community service by the Nevada Athletic Commission.
In early December, Jones tested positive for metabolites of cocaine while training for his bout. Jones was allowed to compete because the test was conducted out of competition, and he beat Cormier at UFC 182.
When the failed drug test became public, Jones publicly apologized for a "mistake," but spent just one day in a drug rehabilitation center before checking himself out.