I'm sure there were many UFC fans who were quite surprised as news broke of Jon Jones' willingness to dabble in a bit of that white powder. So imagine how I felt as I learned that Jones was checking in to rehab for cocaine use the day after I wrote something expressing my love and admiration for the dude.
Jones had tested positive for one of the chemical thingy's that is found in cocaine, before his fight against Daniel Cormier but still went out and did the business. He'll now do a stint in rehab and look to get back on the wagon, yeah, it's really that easy. Obviously I'm in the corner of Jones and I've got full confidence that he will get back on the wagon, but he's gotta rid himself of this habit first and foremost, his personal wellbeing is a priority. I don't imagine this will have any major impact on his champion status, but it's just sucky ya know because Jones, despite being a bit of a dick was seen as a family man, a christian man, a man who is above this. I guess that's never stopped drug habits creeping in to lives before has it?
It's easy to pick apart Jones' comments post fight to look for signs, but something he said really stands out. Post fight, he was pretty mellow which I took as just him being respectful of the fact that Daniel Cormier had taken him to war, but I think it could have been because he knew what was ahead of him. Jones expressed his enthusiasm to train full time as he usually took a few weeks between fights and got 'fat' ... maybe Jones new that something needed to change and this was just the kick in the ass he needed.
Everyone makes mistakes and deserves a chance, so we'll wait and see. What would really rip the nightie was if something like testosterone was also found in tests....
Andrew McDonald who plays for the Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash and had a brief stint with the Australian Test side, expressed a desire to see teams from Aotearoa and Asia involved in the Big Bash. The commentators had also talked about this a few times, more though about having an English side come and take part. I think first and foremost, the Aussies need to definitely think about getting a Kiwi side in there as they've long scoffed at the idea of any Kiwi involvement in their cricket set up. It's exactly what Kiwi cricket needs as well as it exposes our battlers to a higher level of cricket with the Super Smash being pretty shit compared to the Biggie Basho.
But it would also be awesome to have a bit more variety and it would put the Big Bash in direct competition with the Indian Premier League. I would start by having two Kiwi sides in there, which would take some schedule juggling but would be good to see and then maybe look at Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore where cricket is also loved. We've never really had such possibilities available in cricket, with the powers that be not even keen to make the Test set up a whole lot better but the Big Bash is a great platform to expand from.
If you're in Auckland or nearby next week make sure you head on out to Piha and check out the 2015 Billabong National Surfing Championships. Not only will you be treated to a nice little spot on the beach but you'll get to see the countries best surfers going at it for the respective national titles. Billy Stairmand who narrowly missed out on qualifying for the World Surfing League will be there to defend his title, but his homie Ricardo Christie won't be because, well he's the first Kiwi lad in 15 years to fight his way on to the WSL! In a cool little twist, the National Champs are also home to the Interclub Championships where clubs from around Aotearoa compete for the overall award. The event is hosted by the Lion Rock Boardriders while the title will be defended by the Gisborne Boardriders. Get along to Piha and give it a twirl!
The Manly Sea Eagles are still keen to keep their mits on Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran, but expect this to come to a climax pretty soon. It looks like all parties involved have learned a lot from 2014 as they sat through they season long distractions of Manly stalwarts Glenn Stewart and Anthony Watmough exiting as well as plenty of rumours floating around. Which means they will look to get this all sorted out before the season starts so 2014 isn't repeated. Manly obviously want to keep them both, which is going to make things very interesting.
Also keep an eye on Steve Matai, he's said that Gold Coast could be a destination as well as Auckland with the common factor being family. For Warriors fans, that means that the door for Matai to Auckland is still open.