Fans of professional Mixed Martial Arts likely know who Jon Jones is: the 28 year old up-and-coming martial artist has been called “the pound-for-pound king of UFC” and has a bright future ahead of him. The light heavyweight fighter has a 21-1 record and uses a combination of wrestling, muay thai, and and jiu-jitsu methods to become the #1 competitor in his weight class. He’s a beast in the ring, recently successfully defending his light heavyweight championship against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, a former champion himself, through submission.
While Jones definitely knows how to deliver devastating kicks, knees, elbows, and fists, he admits that his greatest regret is the devastation he caused his friends and family through a different means: his addiction to marijuana.
Jon Jones openly admits to allowing marijuana use to take over his life, causing rifts in his relationships, especially the one with his fiancee and high school sweetheart, Jessie Moses. He says she “put up with his (mess)” for seven long years, but now is happy to have the man she fell in love with back. Jones himself openly admits that his marijuana use went beyond casual use into blatant abuse; he partied hard when not in the ring, and blames himself for the stalling of other bright career fighters who got caught up in the lifestyle with him and did not see the same success as he did. Guilt over their potential dwindling due to his influence continues to eat at him, despite his own impressive career.
“I was a drug addict. One thing people don’t realize is that you can be a drug addict even if you are a stoner. If you are waking up every day and smoking, smoking before you eat, smoking before you train, smoke before you sleep, smoking before you watch a movie, smoking before your study session, you are an addict. It doesn’t have to be a hard drug to be [addicting].
If you’re spending lots of money on it and all your friends are people who do it as well and you don’t really associate with people who are completely sober, then, yeah, you are an addict. I think that’s why people have these issues with marijuana, because they don’t really consider it a drug.”
Jones, who smoked since high school and throughout his college and early professional career, says he’s kicked the habit- a challenge even greater than his pre-match training regimens. He said his habit was a means of staving off the negatives of life and the outside world, admitting he only ever resurfaced when it was time for a match. Now, however, Jones is striving to becoming the person he has always wanted to be, inside the ring and out. It’s something he couldn’t do while under the influence of a marijuana addiction.
There’s truth in what he said: when it comes to marijuana addiction, people often refuse to recognize that their use has become a problem. Much like functioning alcoholics, they hold on to the fact that they can continue to function (for the most part) while using and abusing the plant. The fact that marijuana is naturally occurring is also often noted, though that’s hardly an argument: opium is naturally occurring, too, as is alcohol.
Jon Jones is currently preparing for a headline fight in UFC 197 with a clear head and a new resolve. No matter the outcome, we’re sure that Jones’ future is bright and his for the taking.
Featured Image: “Jon Jones Supporting Brain Health Study” by Senate Democrats. Licensed under CC by 2.0.