Anthony Pettis: A lot of athletes get caught up in drugs

UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis says he understands the temptations stars like Jon Jones may face.

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UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has a good deal of sympathy and empathy for light heavyweight king Jon Jones. It was revealed this week that "Bones" had entered into a drug rehabilitation center, after testing positive for a substance found in cocaine four weeks before his UFC 182 title defense against Daniel Cormier, last week.

Pettis, like Jones, is a young champion, with a lot of fans and attention. "Showtime" says it can be a challenge to stay away from harmful activities and habits as a recent celebrity. "It’s hard," he said in a recent, and excellent interview with John Morgan.

 "Jon’s young. He’s my age – 27. You get put in front of a lot of people who care about who you are and there’s some negative energy around that, as well. Some people don’t want to see you do good or want to introduce you to things will bring you down, and it’s kind of up to you. You’ve got to be strong-willed. You’ve got to know what to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to."

Pettis went on to explain how his own father’s tragic premature death has helped him stay on the straight and narrow. "For me, I lost my dad to that kind of stuff, so I already knew. I feel like I have a strong willpower not to get mixed up in that stuff," he said.

"Anybody else, I think it’s hard."

Pettis detailed how drugs like cocaine are widely available to professional athletes and celebrities. Adding to the temptation is that many who use may otherwise appear to be the very pictures of success that young stars want to themselves become.

"It’s definitely there. It’s around you at parties you go to and events you go to. These people have a different level of income and a different amount of money and it might be presented to you in a different way than somebody would in your neighborhood. That’s how it is for me," Pettis reasoned.

"If somebody presented it to me in my neighborhood I’d be like, ‘No, I don’t want to be like you. You’re not doing as good as I am.’ But then you see people doing way better than you and they’re doing it and presenting it to you in a different way, it’s hard to juggle. You have to be careful."

Pettis went on to say how he likes to keep his real friends and family around him when he travels, so as to help him do the right thing. "Me, I brought my brother out here to Las Vegas. Traveling with people helps out a lot," he said.

It’s around you at parties you go to and events you go to

"It keeps you on track. It’s very easy to lose focus on the goal."

Pettis knows that the struggle is real for young fighters coming up, as they begin to have success and garner more attention. In the end, he can only offer how he tries to avoid getting caught up in bad habits, and warns others to use caution.  "I think a lot of athletes get caught up in that thing," he concluded.

"You just have to be careful. I lost my dad, and I see other people where I came from and how they live their life, and I don’t want to get mixed up with that, so I think that’s what keeps me away from it."