Daniel Cormier's phone started blowing up with texts last Thursday morning. His bitter rival, Jon Jones, had just been arrested for alleged aggravated DWI and negligent use of a firearm. Friends in Cormier's inner circle were reaching out to him with messages that sounded celebratory.
"But that's not me. I didn't celebrate. I didn't celebrate the kid getting in trouble again," Cormier said during Monday's edition of DC & Helwani. "I don't think you should celebrate or dance on someone's grave in their darkest moments."
Cormier does believe, however, that Jones should not be let off the hook easily for this latest incident in a long line of troubles. He believes the UFC needs to take drastic measures -- not release the light heavyweight champ but "save him."
"I think the UFC needs to save him," Cormier said. "Keep him, but then really try to help him try to get better."
Cormier did not specify what measures he believes the UFC should take. But he did point to the promotion's past suspensions of Jones, which "took away time" from the fighter without discarding him altogether.
Cormier also said he hopes the New Mexico judge who sees Jones' case will "really put their foot down and demand that he sees the error of his ways."
Cormier said he wasn't surprised to hear that Jones was arrested while out in his car at a time when much of the world is sheltering at home because of the coronavirus pandemic.
"For a guy that has these issues -- whether it be alcohol, whether it be drugs -- that dead time is your worst enemy," he said. "All those vices start to pull at you, whenever you're just sitting home with nothing to do, especially if you're not a person that does that a lot."
He also criticized Jones for being disingenuous after Jones had been a vocal advocate on Twitter for social distancing and other measures to combat the pandemic.
"That's the biggest problem. It's just not real," Cormier said. "It's never been real. ... So when he's on the front line saying, 'Stay at home,' you know that at night, the moment he gets an opportunity, he sneaks out and does whatever he wants. That's what people with problems do. And this kid has a problem."
Cormier said he is sad for Jones' family that these incidents keep piling up and are becoming more serious. And he said he is also sad for a larger community that he and Jones have in common. "I hate seeing a young, black athlete in that situation even more than my disdain for him," Cormier said. "I don't like seeing that because it's almost what people expect. And I don't want that to be the way it is or these young athletes. ... It's like watching Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry all over again."
Cormier also revealed that he was speaking from experience. He said that in his first year of college he was arrested for fighting at a party in Kansas and spent five days in jail. "I thought my life was over," he said. "As a 19-year-old kid. Had not even wrestled a match in college."
His mother had to take out a second mortgage on her house to help him pay for the hospital bills of the person he hit. Cormier learned from that, he said, and has never gotten in trouble with the law again.
"One time was enough to get me to go, 'You know what? Don't be stupid, Daniel,'" Cormier said. "But for other people, they just do it over and over again."