UFC champion Jon Jones is facing a battery charge stemming from an alleged April incident in Albuquerque, New Mexico, ESPN confirmed Monday.
Jones, who holds the UFC light heavyweight title, is accused of slapping a cocktail waitress in her genital area at a strip club, pulling her down to his lap and kissing her neck, according to the criminal summons obtained by ESPN from the Albuquerque Police Department. KRQE television in Albuquerque was the first to report the news.
The woman told Albuquerque police that Jones put her in a chokehold and picked her up off the ground, per the news station. When she asked Jones to stop, she said Jones continued touching her until he decided to leave.
The charge was listed in court records as a petty misdemeanor, but a conviction can still carry jail time.
Jones' spokesperson James Hallinan told KRQE that Jones was unaware of the charge until his team was contacted by KRQE. Per online court records, a letter sent to Jones by Albuquerque police was returned in June. A bench warrant was issued for Jones on June 12 when he failed to show up for a bond arraignment. Jones paid a $300 cash bond Sunday. His next court date is not yet scheduled.
"Today, the media told Mr. Jones about a false accusation launched against him and that paperwork had been sent to an incorrect address," Hallinan said in a statement to KRQE. "However, after receiving the documents from the press, Mr. Jones immediately went to pay the small fee, and he, and multiple witnesses, stand ready to factually refute the malicious lies being told about him to the public."
Jones, an Albuquerque resident, tweeted about the situation Monday morning, writing he is "definitely not in any trouble."
"Don't be so quick to believe everything you read on the Internet," Jones wrote.
The woman told police that she was serving Jones and his brother at the strip club. She did not mention Jones' brother by name. Both of his brothers, Chandler and Arthur, are NFL veterans. Jones, the woman said, had been asking her to give him a lap dance repeatedly, but she refused due to club policy because she was a waitress and not one of the dancers. She said Jones at one point pulled her onto his lap and kissed her neck.
Later, the woman told police that Jones was waiting for shots from the bar when he put her in a "tight" rear-naked choke. She said she joked that he can put her in a choke, but she can't put him in one because she wasn't tall enough. Jones then picked her up off the ground, turned her in the air and was "roughhousing" with her, she told police.
She said Jones then placed her down by the bar and smacked her in her genital region. The woman said she told Jones twice he couldn't smack her there unless he paid her $100. She said Jones "continued to touch her until he decided to leave the establishment."
Per the criminal summons, the woman told police of Jones: "I just don't want to deal with this person. I think he is a f---ing piece of s---. The whole situation is so complicated and I'm not really sure what to say and this person gets away with f---ing everything."
The UFC said it would have "no comment at this time" on Jones.
Jones, 32, has been in legal trouble before. In 2012, Jones pleaded guilty to a DWI charge. He pleaded guilty to felony hit-and-run in 2015 and received probation and community service. In 2016, Jones violated his probation for allegedly drag racing. The New York native's probation was up in March 2017.
On top of the time he missed dealing with those situations, Jones has missed Octagon time due to two failed drug tests administered by UFC anti-doping partner USADA over the past three years. Most recently, Jones was suspended 15 months for a positive drug test for a steroid metabolite in July 2017.
Jones (25-1, 1 NC) is coming off a successful title defense against Thiago Santos earlier this month at UFC 239 in Las Vegas. Jones has never really been beaten in MMA, with his only loss coming in 2009 by disqualification for illegal elbows. He is regarded as perhaps the greatest pound-for-pound mixed martial arts fighter of all time.