Part 2 of Matthew Peterson’s interview with the “other” Jon Jones:
Matthew Peterson: Do you suppose that people are truly shocked when they finally click on your picture and don’t see a tall, muscular African-American MMA fighter? Instead, they’re seeing a white guy with purple hair and a very enviable mustache?
Jon Jones: Thank you! They are often pretty shocked by that. I don’t deliberately try to be the complete opposite of Bones, but I love the one-two punch of people going, “Why is this guy talking about being fat and eating tacos? Oh my god, that’s not Bones.”
MP: Now when your feed starting blowing up around UFC 214, that’s when we discovered that there was also a Caucasian Daniel Cormier out there on Twitter. That’s comedy gold right there.
JJ: Oh, he’s the best, such a nice guy. I met him originally when we were tagged into a tweet by mistake. We started talking and I found out he works in tech. He’s a programmer, we actually follow a lot of the same accounts and are into a lot of the same tech stuff. We’ve actually become genuine friends over this and we talk about back during the buildup to UFC 182 with all the super negative trash talk between Jones and DC. I would always start a Twitter thread to non-MMA Daniel Cormier asking how his cats were doing and we’d start sending cat pictures back and forth while plugging the ASPCA and Rescue Pets. I mean, what’s more opposite than two grown men threatening to beat each other to death than two men talking about tiny fuzzy kitty toes and pet adoption?
MP: We talked about how you are the physical opposite to Bones. Non-MMA Daniel Cormier is basically the opposite to DC, he’s a lanky tall white guy.
JJ: Exactly. I never really thought of it like that. We’re each just that perfect kind of opposites. (laughs) That’s kind of funny.
MP: Daniel Cormier is lucky though, in the aspect that DC tends to be a perfectly nice human being. Your anti-doppelganger seems to have a bit of a rough streak in him.
JJ: Yeah, my guy sucks. (laughs) It’s weird, the doors that opened for me because of this. A couple weeks ago, I was in Vancouver and I got to tour Electronic Arts where they developed the UFC games. I got to meet Corey Anderson and I got to meet the dev team. I was at EA for business, for other reasons, but just walking through the facility, I had maybe a dozen people recognize me in person. They’d say “Oh my god, it’s Jon Jones!” After this last one at UFC 214, I’m getting recognized in public now! I don’t always tell my friends about this stuff because my friends don’t follow me on Twitter but at my regular corner bar, a friend of a friend knew who I was, had read all of my tweets and wanted to pose for a picture with me. Yeah, the last two or three weeks have been absolutely the most surreal it has ever been. I’m getting recognized in public when I’d never expected to be.
MP: I’m sure someone from a sheltered upbringing like you had never expected this sort of attention then? I mean, being famous just for sharing a name with somebody who is famous.
JJ: Exactly, I mean the whole thing is based around me not being somebody else. When I was at EA with my coworkers, I hadn’t told either of them about any of this. They had to ask me why that guy came over and wanted to take a picture with me. The entire rest of the trip, they kept noticing that sort of thing. I don’t tell people about this, I try to keep it on Twitter. It’s just weird how it finds me.
MP: I know right now, you’re sitting at around 15,000 followers on Twitter. In a big Bones Jones news week, how much does that number fluctuate?
JJ: Previously, it was between 200-400 new followers each time. Once the news ran its course, I’d lose about 20 percent over the next weeks. Enough people know about my Twitter bit so they come and follow temporarily and unfollow when it’s done. I’ve actually had a lot of my own friends and people in my industry permanently unfollow me because they hate it. This last one though, I don’t why it was so big, but I got literally 8,000 followers overnight. I think I peaked at 15,200 followers, went down to 14,800 and after last night, I’m back to 15,100. The falloff is not happening this time. My demographics literally changed overnight. It is the biggest and craziest it’s ever been.
MP: This one isn’t going to stop soon either, with the news of Bones’ B sample coming back positive as well. Now you’re heading into appeals process and punishments down the road. This chain is looking to continue for months most likely.
JJ: My god. Since last month, I never realized how painfully aware I’d become of the blood and urine content of another man. People are yelling it at me. I shouldn’t have to know what Turinabol is, or how to spell it, or how it can be detected in pee and not blood. The dick pills thing, that was a week of people shouting at me “How’s your dick working?!?!” I just shrug and respond “I dunno, adequately?”
MP: I’m a huge fan of when the people tweeting at you have just the dull realization that their anger has been completely misplaced.
JJ: This last month has completely changed Twitter, at least for me. The amount of sustained attention I’ve been getting from strangers is completely weird. The reason I’ve been able to sustain over the last 2-3 years is that I can give it all of my attention for 3-4 days and then I can give it a rest. Not anymore though.
MP: On the day of Bones Jones new breaking, how long does it take Twitter to just eat your phone’s battery?
JJ: Honestly, let’s see. I can probably put both of my phones completely dead in 3-5 hours. What I usually do is just use my PC because I can respond faster and it’s easier to take screenshots before people delete tweets. Since I got verified on Twitter, the blue checkmark apparently scares people, so they try to delete tweets a lot faster. That’s no fun, that’s the worst part! How am I supposed to have fun if you run away like a little scared kid? My favorite one that I wish I could have saved was right after the cocaine deal. It was all caps and no punctuation. It just said “JESUS DOESNT DO CRAAAAAAAAACK”
JJ: People are so damn funny. One guy, I did screenshot this one, he tweeted at me thinking I was Bones, then got mad at me when I tweeted back. He told me to give up the Twitter and claimed I was violating Bones’ intellectual property rights by using my own name on my Twitter account I registered ten years ago.
MP: Your Twitter feed has been the highlight of my day a lot lately. It’s just the ridiculousness that people are willing to reveal online and they won’t stop and think for a second before they shoot you a message.
JJ: It’s completely ridiculous. People will actually go all the way through my website, all the way to the contact form where my face is right next to it. They still type entire emails to me directed at Bones. I’ve gotten invitations to gyms, I’ve actually gotten really nice fan mail to Bones from people who just want him to get better and keep his head up. One guy tried to get me to have sex with his wife.
MP: (laughing) Wait, what?
JJ: It was this whole cuckold fantasy thing. They totally thought I was Bones. This guy was like “My wife is a big fan, wink wink. If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, you can come stay with us. We’d love to meet you, wink wink.” If I was single, I may have just gone there just to see what would have happened. Like yeah, I look at lot different in real life.
MP: I admire your ability to go out of your own way to learn nothing about MMA despite your Twitter feed.
JJ: It’s a losing battle and I pick up a lot of things just by context. It’s at the point where I actually know a lot of fighters by now, I think I actually have like 30-40 fighters who follow me on Twitter now. I know when PPVs are, I know other weird bits of drama. It’s weird piecemeal drama I pick up as I go along.
MP: Well it’s been an amazing conversation with you today. Thank you so much for your time. Best wishes to you because your trip down the rabbit hole is just beginning this time.
JJ: Thanks so much for having me on. This whole thing is just a silly hobby I’ve learned how to control and have fun with. I’m always grateful for any time and attention anyone gives me.
MP: It’s a great distraction. MMA seems to always be filled with so much drama. It’s a sport where people punch and kick and choke people but there’s always so much drama between fights that it can sometimes overshadow the events themselves. It’s nice to have this kind of humor that you can bring to the MMA world.
JJ: Thank you. I really do hope that things work out with Bones. I know there’s so much of this that is self-inflicted. I had a lot of fun with it but the one thing that makes me truly nervous is that if this thing truly keeps getting darker and sadder, I’m just going to pull the plug on my bit. I don’t want to be just tapdancing in the ashes of another man’s misery.
MP: For sure. It’s all humor and you don’t seem like you’re taking pleasure in his misery.
JJ: Definitely. I like to see people succeed and hopefully we can laugh at ourselves when we trip and fall.
MP: Well thank you much for your time and you keep doing what you do best.
JJ: Thanks so much!
NOW CHECK OUT PART ONE: PETERSON’S TAKE: Being the Other Jon Jones, Part 1