Full Contact Fighter’s “The Daily Takedown:” WWE Champ CM Punk Wonders if Jon Jones’ Nike Slogan Will Be “Just DUI It.”
By Joshua Molina
Everyone is coming unglued over Jon “Bones” Jones Nike sponsorship deal. They are saying that the sponsorship is a huge step into the mainstream for mixed martial arts. And the MMA media is saying that Jones could do for MMA what Tiger Woods did for golf.
But don’t count WWE champion CM Punk among Jones’ fans. Punk, a hardcore MMA fan and one of the most popular pro wrestlers in the world, tweeted this about Jones’s sponsorship deal.
“Let’s reward more drunk drivers with endorsement deals! #responsibility”
This isn’t a case of a pro wrestler trying to get some attention on the back of a trending MMA story. Punk is a legitimate prude. Punk doesn’t drink or do drugs, is outspoken about his opposition to legal and illegal drugs, and advocates against sexual promiscuity. He fashions himself as the leader of the “Straight-Edged Society.”
Punk even has an unofficial mainstream sponsorship of his own – a Pepsi logo tattooed on his arm – which symbolizes his choice of soda over booze. His knuckles are tattooed with “drug-free” on them.
Punk pals around with the UFC’s Chael Sonnen and has incorporated many submission MMA moves into his pro wrestling repertoire.
Punk pointed out the obvious about Jones’ sponsorship deal. How did this happen? The 24-year-old was arrested on May 19 on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. He pled guilty on June 19 to the offense. His two female passengers, none of which were his fiancé, suffered cuts, bruises and swelling. The impact was so strong that the airbags deployed.
According to Sports Illustrated, Jones had “slurred speech and glassy, bloodshot eyes, and was unsteady on his feet.
Jones’ license was suspended for six months and he was fine $1,000. Jones tweeted this yesterday regarding his Nike deal:
“Blessed to be signed by the biggest sports apparel company in the world #NIKE Dreams do come true”
It’s not clear how much money the deal is worth. But the stature alone that it brings Jones will create a new level of aura around him.
Will the sponsorship stick? Probably depends on Jones and his ability to act like a mainstream star.
Some MMA commentators on the internet have come up with some clever Nike slogans for Jones. “Just DUI It.” Or that instead of the Nike Air Jordan’s, Jones will be the face of the Nike Air Bags.”
Despite the DWI arrest and conviction, Jones is one of the sports fastest-rising stars. He is 16-1, and has disposed of many of the sport’s top stars in recent years. Jones’ deal may pave the way for other MMA fighters to lock up sponsorships – or not – depending on how things go with Jones. He is the first MMA fighter sponsored in the U.S., although Anderson Silva has a Nike deal in Brazil.
Nike also sponsors other combat fighters, including boxing great Manny Pacquiao and former champ Roy Jones, Jr.
Jones is scheduled to fight Dan Henderson on Sept. 1, in a fight where he is heavily favored. What happens if Henderson knocks Jones out? Probably wouldn’t hurt the Nike sponsorship deal. But it’s likely that the Nike deal just got Hendo a lot more fans – or at least MMA fighters who are wondering, “why him, and not me?”
Because he lives in the world of professional wrestling and the expectations are different, a guy like CM Punk can say the things that many MMA superstars and athletes probably are thinking, but just can’t say out loud.
Contact reporter Joshua Molina at email@example.com. Or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JoshuaMolinaMMA