It’s an undeniable fact that sometimes talent is in the genes. So is a predilection for getting into trouble. The Jones family is filled with incredible athleticism. There’s Arthur, a Super Bowl-winning defensive end; Jon Jones, the famous and troubled UFC fighter, and younger brother Chandler, also a Super Bowl-winning linebacker.
The trio is known for their exploits on the field and in the ring, but trouble is never far behind them.
A family of champions
Everyone with even a cursory knowledge of the UFC knows the name Jon Jones. Jones became the youngest UFC champion in history when he fought “Shogun” Rua as a light heavyweight in 2011. He held onto the title until 2015, racking up a portfolio of impressive records Including the longest win streak in UFC history. He took back the title in 2018 after a series of controversies derailed his career.
Then there’s the eldest brother, Arthur. He was drafted out of Syracuse University in 2010 by the Baltimore Ravens. Arthur was part of the Super Bowl-winning roster in 2012 against the 49ers. Jones was then traded to Indianapolis and later the Redskins, where he played an additional three seasons before retiring in 2017. He recorded a career total 99 solo tackles, 173 combined, and six sacks.
Finally, there’s the youngest brother, Chandler, who was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2012. In 2014, Chandler earned his first Super Bowl ring with the Patriots before being traded to the Arizona Cardinals in 2016. Known as a human wrecking ball, he ended last season as runner-up for defensive player of the year.
Trouble close behind
Despite the family’s prolific talents and athleticism, trouble is never really far behind them. Back in 2016, Arthur had to suffer through a four game suspension due to testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2016, Chandler had his own brush with trouble when he showed up at a police station in Foxborough crying and disoriented. He was subsequently hospitalized for having a reaction to a type of synthetic marijuana. While it seemed like a career-ending scandal at the time, the substance was determined to be legal in Massachusetts, and Jones did not receive any penalty for his behavior.
That’s all small potatoes compared to Jon’s trouble. For all his accomplishments, Jones has been on a trajectory of self-destruction since he first won the title. The gifted fighter has had a string of arrests and substance abuse issues. His troubles began in 2012 when he hit a telephone pole while driving drunk near his hometown of Endicott, NY.
In 2015, he was involved in a hit-and-run accident that left a pregnant woman injured. That same year, Jones also had a string of failed drug tests, both for illegal substances such as cocaine and possible steroid use. As a result, Jones was stripped of his title and suspended. He wouldn’t fight again until 2017.
You’d think that would be the end of his troubles, and you’d be wrong. Late in 2019, the fighter was involved in an incident in New Mexico where he choked and sexually harassed a waitress. In February of 2020, Jones was found sitting in his vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol carrying a loaded weapon. As of this writing, his future in the UFC remains uncertain.
The Jones brothers’ future
Chandler, Arthur, and especially Jon’s behavior would be so much easier to understand if they came from a bad family. They didn’t though. Their father is a pastor, and religion remains an important part of life for the entire family.
They were raised as a tight-knit unit, but tragedy struck in 1999 when their sister died after a long fight with brain cancer, and again in 2017 when the boys’ mother died from complications due to her diabetes.
It’s not an excuse so much as it is a reason for their behavior. A reminder to the sports world at large that even the most talented athletes are just human.