ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – As the peaceful protest in Albuquerque turned into a wave of chaos late Sunday night, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon ‘Bones’ Jones stepped in to confront some of the vandals. He shared his own message to the people causing destruction.
Video shows Jones confronting a group of guys wearing hoodies in downtown Albuquerque Sunday night, and demanded they hand over their spray cans. “Give me the spray can,” Jones tells the young men.
“I ain’t doing nothing,” the man replied. “Give me the spray can,” Jones repeated. Another voice is heard in the video saying, “That’s not the way, man.”
“Here, fool,” the hooded young man eventually handed over the spray can to Jones. Video of Jones taking the spray cans away was posted on Jones’ Instagram account and had more than 1.3 million views by noon on Monday.
The Albuquerque UFC fighter says he went out to be a part of the peaceful protest, calling for justice after the death of George Floyd. However, what he saw unfold late last Sunday night was not helping the cause, he said.
“The George Floyd situation was disgusting. It was terrible,” said Jones. “I felt his pain. As a person who lost their mom, to hear him call out to his mom – it cut me deeply. You know, something for sure changed in my heart forever. But you don’t meet these feelings with anger,” Jones added.
KRQE News 13’s cameras captured vandals smashing windows of businesses, lighting fires, and tagging walls with graffiti. Jones said he too was angered by the death of George Floyd and even addressed his own run-ins with police.
“I’ve had my run-ins with the police, I’m not the biggest fan of the police either guys, but it’s not about ruining our city man,” said Jones. “It’s about coming up with a plan to make things better.”
“Do you wanna make a bad situation worse? It’s already bad, there’s no reason to do this sh** to the walls. There’s no reason to break the windows,” Jones said. “What did someone else’s mom and dad’s shop do to you?”
Steve Vatoseow, the owner of Lindy’s Diner in downtown Albuquerque said on Monday, he’s thankful Jones stepped in to stop some of the vandals from doing even more damage. His diner sits on the corner of Central Avenue and Fifth Street, where a wave of protesters filled the streets.
“Jones stood outside the building and he was telling people, ‘Don’t mess with my city, this isn’t the way to do it,’ you know,” recalled Vatoseow, of Jon Jones. “He did a lot of good here last night and it really helped out the situation in this particular area.”
As business owners spent the day on clean-up, they said they hope Monday night is not another repeat. According to his Instagram account, Jones was out Monday in downtown Albuquerque offering help to small businesses with clean up.
It’s unclear if the young men who handed over their spray cans recognized Jon Jones, but they did not put up a fight.
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