Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones have never been on the best of terms.
Still, when Cormier learned that his light heavyweight rival had been arrested in Albuquerque for aggravated DWI, negligent use of a firearm, possession of an open container of alcohol and operating a vehicle without insurance, it wasn’t cause for celebration. That Jones’ latest incident occurred when many cities have instituted “shelter in place” measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak might have only served to compound the champion’s vices, Cormier said.
“For a guy that has these issues, whether it be alcohol, whether it be drugs, that dead time is your worst enemy,” Cormier said on the "DC & Helwani" podcast. “Because all those vices start to pull at you, especially when you’re sitting at home with nothing to do, especially if you’re not a person who does that a lot. Seeing him get into trouble again, a lot of people in my circle, they text me almost celebratory. That’s not me. I didn’t celebrate the kid getting in trouble again. I don’t think that you should celebrate or dance on someone’s grave in their darkest moments. You don’t do that to people.”
Cormier and Jones have squared off twice in the Octagon. Jones defeated “DC” via unanimous decision at UFC 182 and by technical knockout in their rematch at UFC 214, although the second victory was eventually overturned to a no contest. Through it all, the two fighters continued to take shots at one another through the press and on social media platforms. Despite his animosity for Jones, this is one time when compassion surpasses competitive spirit.
“Ultimately are you a human being, or does this competition overtake everything?” Cormier said. “I didn’t take any joy in seeing that kid – or, at 32, he’s a man. He was a kid when he was 23. At 32, I did not enjoy seeing that man in that situation again, because it’s just bad.”
Jones’ personal troubles outside the cage are well documented, and the latest arrest only adds to a laundry list of charges against the New Mexico resident over the years. Cormier finds it difficult to watch someone with Jones’ talent continue to self destruct.
“It won’t change,” Cormier said. “It won’t change until something or the people around him change. I think about my rivalry with Jones, and I’m not some black power guy, but as much as I dislike him in terms of personally – I hate him in a lot of ways and I think a lot of it is the wasted talent and potential to be such a massive star. But I hate seeing a young, black athlete in that situation even more than my disdain for him. I don’t like seeing that, cause it’s almost what people expect, and I don’t want that to be the way it is for these young athletes.
“I’m watching him and I’m just like, this dude is messed up. You can’t help but feel the kid is just messed up. It’s a sad, sad — it’s like watching Dwight Gooden, Daryl Strawberry and all those guys all over again.”
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