While I tip my hat to Jon “Bones” Jones for another successful title defense against Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, I’m having a harder and harder time accepting him as a champion. While his skill and record has been on a steady incline, his attitude seems to be headed in an equally speedy decline.
Attitude says a lot about a champion and can make or break him (or her). Floyd Mayweather, Jr., one of my favorite boxers ever (“Iron” Mike Tyson is my absolute favorite), is supremely skilled as a boxer, yet leaves much to be desired as a person. I stopped following him on Twitter because I don’t like what he tends to say. I’ve elected to stop absorbing it. It’s his attitude that caused our Internet-based separation.
Jones began his career with an air of humility and sportsmanship. He was adored and encouraged to perform. I loved to see his spinning back fists, crouching, and sheer athleticism (I also thought that, with his spindly legs and tentacular arms, he was more suited to the “Spider” moniker than Anderson Silva). However, it didn’t take long before the attitude change, presumably around the time of the fallout with Rashad Evans.
The attitude change is a negative one which detracts from his being a champion. It paints him out to be pompous fighter and gives much leverage to Evans’ remarks about Jones. It also sets him up for severe scrutiny and a tremendous loss of fans.
Jon “Bones” Jones was in, perhaps, his first real challenge at UFC 140 when Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida remained calm and composed during their match. It looked like Jones’ show (or performance) had to be curtailed to contend with a legitimate challenger. Having taken some concrete blows from Machida, which backed the champion up more often than he probably would have imagined, and caused an uproarious response from the crowd, Jones seems to have suddenly realized that he needed to take the challenger seriously.
True champions respect their opponents. Everyone is a threat when they step into the ring: I’m sure the supremely-talented Anderson Silva believes that after facing Ryo Chonan in 2004. Not respecting your opponent shows a true lack of class. That’s not the attitude of a champion.
What struck me the most about Jones’ unprofessional attitude was the way he simply let go of the choked out Machida. The challenger was dropped unceremoniously, discarded as if he was worthless. While it is true that it is a fight, the old statement “may the best man win” still prevails. The best man, believe it or not, is expected to behave as one. As a champion and, to some degree, as a gentleman (do you remember early Mike Tyson fights? He helped his opponents up after savage knockouts, including the one to Marvis Frazier).
I hope Jones begins to consider the implications of his attitude because it is a serious turn off. Further, it would be wise to really consider what Philippians 4:13 says. At the very least, that should put the attitude in check. Read More