Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones found himself in hot water last week -- albeit briefly -- when a tete-a-tete on his personal Instagram account regarding his UFC 165 win over Alexander Gustafsson promoted "Bones" to drop a homophobic slur.
It appears to have been a case of mistaken identity.
Jones denied the charge, despite conflicting stories with manager Malki Kawa. The champ initially said he was hacked; then Kawa said his client's phone was stolen. As it turns out, it may have been a little bit of both, according to the explanation Jones gave at this week's media luncheon.
"So basically I have had a whole bunch of people have my passwords to my social media and one of the guys that's working with us, took it into his own hands to reply to the fans some negative stuff," Jones told MMAmania.com.
"I don't know if the dude thought he was logged under his name, or he knew he was logged in under my name, but by the time I found out all that stuff had happened I was like... It had been up on the internet for hours and Malki called me and he was like 'did you write some sexual slurs to the fans' and I said 'what are you talking about bro?' I was actually at Verizon getting a new cell phone. He said 'let me send you something' and he sent me all the messages. Right away I was like 'ahhhh.' I realized how crazy it was and right away I tried to figure out how this happened and who did this."
Jones said that particular worker has "gotten fired from that team" and he's "changed all the passwords to every social media thing" he has.
However, there are plenty of fans and media who aren't buying the Team Jackson fighter's alibi, and he made it clear that he is none too concerned with the public's opinion on the matter.
"No one believes me about it, but it's one of those things where the people who decided to hate me are never going to believe me about it. So I just have to continue to be me. Honestly I didn't know and at the time the whole situation looked sticky because Malki is saying I lost my phone -- which I did -- but it had nothing to do with this whole situation."
"I was trying to get a hold of him for a couple of hours and I couldn't," Jones manager Malki Kawa said. "When I finally did he was just coming out of the store."
Jones, who said he sang with "bisexual and homosexual" students in his High School Jazz Choir, and "never had a problem" said he is "not a homophobe at all." He has already been in hot water once, after a DUI arrest in upstate NY back in May of 2012. Another public backlash and the sponsors he worked so hard to achieve (like this one) could easily cut ties with him at the drop of a hat.
That was a major concern and luckily for Jones, it did not become an issue.
"NIKE called and I talked to my NIKE rep. We have a really good relationship. We've done all types of stuff that can get me fired from NIKE," Jones laughed. It was a surprising response to throw out for public consumption, but then again, a suitable response for the champion.
"All the sponsors were cool," Kawa chimed in. "I let them know right away."
"All my sponsors, they know me personally," the brother of NFL players Arthur and Chandler Jones continued. "I barely even swear, let alone write back or write people and all that type of stuff and I get all types of comments and insults. What the guy actually said wasn't even worth coming back at him. I've been called n***er on social media before. As you can see I'm getting pretty passionate about the whole thing. I've had real life stuff happen to me, so somebody to say that I lost to Gustafsson, that's not even something worth getting my attention."