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Jon Jones donates $25K to Santa Fe food bank

Dominick Reyes, left, delivers a shot to Jon Jones ribs, right, during a light heavyweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 247 Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Houston. Jones is donating $25,000 to a New Mexico food bank, it was announced on Thursday. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Embattled UFC champion Jon Jones this week donated $25,000 to The Food Depot of Northern New Mexico – a donation the food bank says can help provide about 100,000 meals for people in need.

The food bank announced the Albuquerque resident’s donation through a social media post on Thursday afternoon.

“Northern New Mexico is incredibly grateful to Jon Jones for his generosity,” said The Food Depot’s Director of Development Jill Dixon in a written statement. “Today, Jon made a donation that will provide 100,000 meals to people in need during these uncertain times. Thank you for showing how much you care for your community, Jon!”

The Food Depot, which serves nine counties in Northern New Mexico and is based in Santa Fe, has distributed food to about 40,000 people since mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic started leading to unforeseen economic hardships for so many. According to The FoodDepot.org, “$1 provides four meals for those in need.”

“We’re in unprecedented times right now, but it’s important that we continue to stand together and help each other however we can,” Jones said in a statement from the food bank. “The Food Depot has done some amazing work for New Mexico. I’m honored to support and hope we can ease the burdens of families in our community.”

Sports leagues and organizations such as the UFC have been included in the businesses shut down or put on heavy restrictions in the past two months preventing them from operating at all or as normal. Starting Saturday, the UFC will hold three events in an eight-day span in Jacksonville, Florida, without fans in attendance. Jones is not fighting in any of the three events.

As has been well documented both locally and nationally, Jones, 32, has had a turbulent ride as a UFC champion with multiple run-ins with the law. The UFC stripped him of his belt in 2015 after being charged with a felony in a hit-and-run case here in Albuquerque, one of several legal incidents in the Duke City.

The most recent legal case for Jones involved him pleading guilty on March 31 to his second drunk driving offense. A week prior to his plea, Jones was arrested in Downtown Albuquerque at 1 a.m. and charged with driving while intoxicated, negligent use of a firearm and open container. His plea agreement allowed him to avoid jail time, get house arrest and probation and the other charges were dropped.

While a controversial figure in the state and MMA world due to his numerous bouts of trouble out of the cage, Jones has made New Mexico his home for a decade and has raised his children in Albuquerque and has tried getting more involved in the community in recent years.

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