Posted 09/29/2015 at 12:28 PM
Jon Jones's life and career dodged a major bullet in Albuquerque, New Mexico, earlier this morning. Jones pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run charges for running a red light, hitting a pregnant woman's car, fleeing the scene and remained in hiding for nearly 48 hours before turning himself in to authorities.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion will avoid jail time and serve 18 months of supervised probation. He must make 72 appearances to do charity work and speak with children. If he meets all of the probation requirements, he won't be convicted of a felony.
The presiding judge said, "Mr. Jones got real lucky today."
His lawyer told the judge before his decision, "This has been a huge wake-up call for Mr. Jones."
UFC President Dana White was in the courtroom during the proceedings. White and the UFC stripped Jones of his belt and suspended him indefinitely one after his arrest in late April.
The championship he vacated was won by Daniel Cormier, who will make his first title defense Saturday in Houston against Alexander Gustafsson. Cormier won the belt by third-round submission over Anthony Johnson, who was scheduled to face Jones before the incident.
Jones defeated Cormier by unanimous decision this past December, but he tested positive for cocaine after the fight. He also was charged with DUI in New York in 2012 after wrapping his Bentley around a tree around 5:00 a.m. in the morning with two female passengers, none of whom were his girlfriend and father of his three kids.
The UFC will likely reinstate Jones and set him up to face the Cormier-Gustafsson winner early in 2016. Regardless of the opponent, it will be much-hyped rematch.
The 28-year-old Jones has never lost in the Octagon. However, he has a defeat next to his record for a controversial ruling for throwing illegal elbows in a match versus Matt Hamill.
Cormier and Gustafsson, especially the latter, gave him his toughest career fights.