UFC Fighters: When Stardom Crosses Legal Boundaries #1

"When UFC Fighters Cross Legal Lines"

Despite UFC fans’ adoration for the combatants inside the octagon, some athletes struggle to remain law-abiding citizens outside of it. While there are exemplary characters like Georges St. Pierre and Stephen Thompson, their opposites also exist. This article revisits some of the most infamous cases where stars seemed to believe they were above the law.

Feb 8, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Jon Jones (red gloves) reacts after his fight Dominick Reyes (not pictured) during UFC 247 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Jon Jones: Repeated Run-Ins

Jon Jones has become notoriously known for his frequent troubles with the law, having been arrested five times. A consistent theme in Jones’ scandals involves his time behind the wheel. The Hall of Fame fighter has been involved in hit-and-runs, DUIs, and speeding, all resulting in hefty fines. In September 2021, just hours after Jones and Alexander Gustafsson were inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame for their legendary title fight, news broke that Jones had been arrested. Police apprehended him on charges of domestic violence and DUI, both of which he pleaded guilty to.


Jul 9, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Conor McGregor motions toward Dustin Poirier while being interviewed by host Joe Rogan during weigh ins for UFC 264 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Conor McGregor: Trouble Follows Fame

Fame and money can bring both joy and sorrow, and Conor McGregor has certainly experienced both sides of this coin. His extreme celebrity status has led to various troubles. The most famous incident outside the octagon in UFC history occurred in 2018 when McGregor and his crew made their way to Brooklyn. There, the Irishmen attacked a bus filled with UFC fighters in an attempt to confront Khabib Nurmagomedov. Besides this historic event, McGregor has been arrested for assaulting an elderly man in an Irish pub and spent three hours in jail after smashing a journalist’s phone in Florida.

Cain Velasquez: A Desperate Act

Former UFC champion Cain Velasquez became a hot topic in February 2022 when he was arrested in California for attempted murder, alongside being charged with ten different weapons offenses. Velasquez was apprehended by police after chasing a man he claimed had sexually molested his daughter. The heavyweight icon pursued the man with a shotgun, firing multiple shots in his direction. Velasquez is still undergoing legal proceedings and has been moved from jail to house arrest after posting a million-dollar bail.


The line between fame and infamy is thin, and as seen with these UFC fighters, crossing it can lead to serious legal and personal repercussions. Their stories serve as a stark reminder of the potential pitfalls that come with living life in the public eye and under the influence of stardom.

Jon Jones on his legal issues: “I have made mistakes and I have owned them. I am trying to do better.”

Conor McGregor reflecting on his actions: “I need to just settle down and focus on the true values in life.”

Cain Velasquez discussing his actions: “I did what I thought was necessary to protect my family.”


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