UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones is being sought as a suspect in a hit-and-run accident in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a title defense set for next month in Las Vegas has reportedly been canceled.
Mr. Jones is being sought a Sunday morning crash, the Albuquerque Police Department said in a statement Sunday evening after having declared him merely a “person of interest” earlier in the day.
Albuquerque PD spokesman Simon Drobik told reporter Mark Raimondi of the website MMA Fighting that a pregnant woman in her 20s had her car struck and was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
The driver of the other car fled the scene, he said.
“Yes, he is the suspect and we’re hoping that he will contact us to give us his side of the story,” Officer Drobik told the site.
Police in Albuquerque, where Mr. Jones trains, had not been able to get in contact with the fighter and did not know his current whereabouts.
Fox Sports’ Ariel Helwani said others are having difficulty locating Mr. Jones.
“All the closest sources I know to JBJ have not spoken to him in over 24 hours,”he wrote on Twitter.
The repercussions were already happening Sunday evening, according to MMA Weekly.
“Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is out of his scheduled UFC 187 title fight against Anthony Johnson. Sources confirmed the development to MMAWeekly.com on Sunday,” the popular fight-news site wrote.
But according to Yahoo Sports, UFC president Dana White has not decided what to do about the Johnson title fight, saying the world’s top mixed-martial-arts organization was still trying to gather the facts and speak with its champion.
Earlier reports by MMA bloggers said Mr. Jones had been arrested on DUI charges and that police found drugs in his car.
But Officer Drobik told MMA reporter David Kano both that Mr. Jones was not in custody Sunday evening and that the drug reports are absolutely not true. “I don’t know where the hell that came form,” Officer Drobik said.
A call and two emails to the Albuquerque PD by The Washington Times were not responded to.
Mr. Jones has been light-heavyweight champion for more than four years, has successfully defended it eight times, and is widely considered the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighter. His only loss was a disputed qualification against Matt Hamill, a fight he had been dominating before throwing an elbow that was illegal by a few inches because of the angle from which it was thrown.
Mr. Jones has had run-ins before with the law, driving and drugs.
In 2012, he drove his Bentley into a pole and pleaded guilty to DUI charges. In January, he tested positive for a cocaine metabolite in the sunup to a fight and checked himself into rehab, though he only stayed there one night.
“I’m not a cocaine addict by any means or not even a frequent user. I just made a really dumb decision and got caught with my pants down in this whole situation,” Mr. Jones said in an interview later.