If you’ve ever attended to or listened to a live athletic commission administrative hearing you will note a lot of factual statements are provided without deep scrutiny (how did those steroids end up in your system? Uhhh, I think I took some bad supplements..). We now have a perfect litmus test to see how much deception athletic commissions are prepared to tolerate and it comes courtesy of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
Earlier this year Jones was brought before the NSAC to answer for a pre-fight brawl he engaged in with Daniel Cormier while promoting their upcoming UFC light heavyweight championship bout. Jones admitted to wrongdoing and in asking for leniency in punishment noted that he already faced steep repercussions from the brawl leading the commission to believe he lost his lucrative Nike sponsorship due to this event. Referring to the Nike sponsorship Jones declared, after being sworn to tell the truth, as follows to the Government commission:
“I’ve faced some punishment already. I’ve lost a very big endorsement of mine. One of my biggest.”
When asked about the value of the lost endorsement Jones confirmed its “my Nike deal”.
Jones’ lawyer, who confirmed at the outset that the purpose of attending the hearing was to ask for leniency, noted as follows as to the value of the lost deal “its over six figures…its pretty damaging if you really consider it“.
Jones now confesses he “worded it wrong“. In other words, the commission was deceived if they ‘considered’ that Jones lost an ‘over six figure’ Nike sponsorship due to the Cormier brawl. MMA Fighting has the story noting:
“When I was in front of the commission, I definitely worded it wrong,” Jones said on a UFC 182 media conference call. “Nike did not drop me because of that fight and I kind of owe an apology to Nike for saying they dropped me because of the fight. They actually didn’t. Nike has been known to support its athletes through much worse things than a brawl in the middle of MGM [Grand]…
“It was already official,” said Jones…”Everybody at headquarters knew. My team knew that I wasn’t gonna do my third year with Nike. And then we got into the brawl.”…
“The truth of the matter is, I did not get dropped by Nike,” Jones said. “It was a mutual thing, something we had discussed months before the actual fight.”
Perhaps most importantly, during the deliberations the Commission noted Jones’s ‘contriteness’ in not suspending him but instead imposing community service as a punishment.
Jones apologized to Nike but its the Commission he should be worried about. This deception should not be taken lightly as it effects the integrity of their decision making process. NSAC Rule 467.885(3) specifically allows the commission to “suspend or revoke the license of, otherwise discipline” a combatant who “Provided false or misleading information to the Commission or a representative of the Commission“.
Now lets see how this unfolds.