Conor McGregor and Jon Jones both have had incredibly successful and controversial careers. Both have won titles twice in the UFC and both have been stripped of their belts as champions rather than being beaten by an opponent.
Now, for Jon Jones, he lost the heavyweight belt after beating Daniel Cormier, in both of their fights. Their first bout was a unanimous decision win for Jones at UFC 182, but shortly after the fight, he was stripped of the light heavyweight belt following his hit and run accident with a pregnant woman.
Then two years later, Jones again fought Cormier at UFC 214, where he won by knockout via head kick and punches in the third round. However, Jon tested positive for a banned Performance Enhancing Drug, and this fight was ruled a no contest, meaning his opponent Daniel Cormier retained the Light Heavyweight Belt.
Conor McGregor on the other hand, was stripped of both his Featherweight (145lbs) and Lightweight (155lbs) belts during his break from the UFC to pursue his historic boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. While neither of these were conduct related, Conor, over the years, has been no angel. At a glance we can analyze the last year as an example.
To preface this, I would like to throw out the whole “Conor McGregor referred to Floyd Mayweather as ‘boy’ on their world press tour” moment. Listen, racism is bad, but he wasn’t being racist here. He’s called every opponent “boy” that he’s fought in the UFC during media days. It’s an intimidation tactic, not racism.
With all that said, there have been two major conduct issues with McGregor outside of the competition in fall 2017 and just recently in 2018. At Bellator 187 on 11/10/17 (UFC rival organization), McGregor stormed the octagon, injuring and assaulting several Bellator employees, in the defense of his teammate Charlie Ward. McGregor managed to avoid any repercussions for this incident.
On April 6, 2018, following the media day before UFC 223 in Brooklyn, New York, McGregor’s conduct took a harsher turn. “He and several dozen lackies” according to UFC President Dana White, stormed the loading dock for the fighter shuttles to their hotels. A skirmish took place with McGregor and his henchmen destroying property, throwing several objects including a metal dolly through one of the bus windows, injuring several scheduled fighters (Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg) on the UFC 223 card.
McGregor is scheduled for trial on June 14 for three counts of felony assault, and one count of criminal mischief. There are also potential lawsuits to be filed by Chiesa, Borg, the Barclays Center, and the bus company that worked the event.
While not officially suspended, neither fighter is currently active, nor has been for some time now. This leaves an obvious gap in the UFC. While both fighters had strong fan bases, McGregor was the star of the UFC, and not having him fight is not a financially motivated long term goal for the company. Respectively, with John Jones (former no. 1 pound-for-pound) and Conor McGregor (current no. 2 PFP) both not fighting, fans are missing out on some of the best pound for pound fighters across all divisions. This situation throws a wrench in the rankings of their respective weight divisions and also makes the current titleholders at lightweight and light heavyweight look like “paper” champions to many UFC fans.
So what is the cause of all this? Well, the UFC is full of bad boys like McGregor and Jones whose brash decision making and wild lifestyles are what has brought them to heights of success. The trouble for the UFC and both men is this: Bad boys will often misbehave, and now the UFC must await their return.