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Jon Jones waiting on UFC to reinstate him as 18 month probation begins

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

When will former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones be back inside the Octagon?

That's been the question on every fan's mind since a Second Judicial District Court in Albuquerque, New Mexico delivered a probationary sentence to "Bones" earlier this week (Tues., Sept. 29, 2015), as punishment for last April's felony hit-and-run.

According to New York-based legal expert Amy Dardashtian, who appeared on Inside MMA Friday evening (Oct. 2, 2015), the answer is simple.

"It's really up to the UFC, and their attorneys are reviewing it now about whether to even bring him back," Dardashtian told Bas Rutten and Ron Kruck. "I think they will though, because Dana White was at the hearings supporting him. So they could bring him back tomorrow or they could wait until he completes his probation."

Since the presiding judge did not put any travel or work restrictions on Jones, technically the UFC could book a fight whenever they wanted. Indeed, tomorrow, or not at all.

So, how did Jones get such a lucky break, getting probation after injuring a pregnant woman with his car and then fleeing the scene of the accident?

Dardashtian says that although some people think Jones "got off easy", it was his admission of guilt and apology in court that made things easier on himself.

"He accepted responsibility. Judges love this. And so the judge said to him, 'listen, you were the champion and you basically threw it all away. So what you're going to do is you're going to make 72 appearances. You're going to contact all of the grade schools, all of the mixed martial arts academies and you're going to talk to the kids and you're going to tell them how hard you worked to get to where you got and how one bad decision basically took it all away.'"

She added that the judge, Charles Brown, also likely used Jones' status as a celebrity to make a difference for the greater good.

However, had Jones actually seriously injured or killed the woman in the April incident, Dardashtian notes that Jones would not likely be making a comeback at all. He'd be headed to prison.

If Jones completes his probationary terms, his felony charge will be wiped from his record in 18 months. However, the expert noted that ordinarily the legal system would grant him a full release should he complete his 72 appearances required by his probation early.

It looks like the ball is now in UFC's court. Er, Octagon.