Current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon “Bones” Jones was one of the special guests at first annual Gentlemen’s Expo that was held at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre this past weekend.
A large crowd of fans were already seated ahead of schedule, making sure that they got good seats to see Jon Jones in person. A few minutes later, Jon Jones stepped onto the stage. Everyone was cheering and applauding for his presence. Jon was a very friendly, down-to-earth guy and he was just straight up hilarious. He greeted the fans with his signature smile and his great sense of humour. You know he really appreciate his fans for coming out to support him.
The 1-hr long session was hosted by both UFC Showdown Joe and Gentlemen’s Expo Host, Todd Shapiro and they talk about Jon Jones previous UFC fights and also his sense of fashion style and lifestyle as a gentlemen.
It was then followed by a Q&A session for fans to ask Jon’s questions.
After the session was over, fans were allowed to lineup at the NewEgg.ca Exhibit to wait for Jon Jones so that they could take a photo with him or seek an autograph from him.
As part of the media, I would have love to interview one-on-one with Jon Jones, but knowing there were lots of media outlets, the Gentlemen’s Expo organizer could only accommodate a handful of media to get that interview opportunity. I wasn’t granted one but I totally understood the situation so I was fine with snapping photos and videos of Jon Jones to share with my audience (hopefully, next year, I will get the interview opportunity).
As media, there is also an unwritten rule that media shouldn’t be seeking autographs from celebrities or the speakers, which totally makes sense and understood. But as you know, part of my MoVernie Mission is to get autographs from celebrities so that I can donate the autograph items to charitable organizations so they can raise money via silent auctions or raffle prizes. All proceeds raised will be donated to people that are in need.
So…I decided to lineup as if I am just another fan, just like the rest of everybody. I guess Jon Jones interviews took longer than expected. We all waited for more than 1 hour of our time. Lots of peeps gave up and left, but I couldn’t, I really wanted to get the autograph for charity and I don’t give up easily either.
After more than an hour, you could hear the cheers by the crowd. Then, you know Jon Jones had FINALLY arrived at booth. He was interviewed by the TV Host from Newegg.ca. Then he started greeting fans. The lineup moved slowly and after 30 minutes, I am closer to booth.
The difficult moment strike. The staff lady told me that due to the relative long lineup, I can either take a photo with Jon or get an autograph from Jon, it’s an EITHER OR situation. It was tough man! I mean, for me personally, a photo is worth a thousand words. I would like to take a photo with the champion. But on the other hand, I ain’t going to bring this item for nothing and not get anything autographed. Besides, my mission is for charity.
The lady pressed “You have to make your decision now, what it’s going to be?” It was tough. BUT you know what? I chose for the autograph, it was where my heart was, I wanted this to be autographed for charity. Charity takes priority.
Jon Jones overheard my conversation with the staff lady and here was the conversation between Jon Jones and me.
The MoVernie-Jon Jones Conversation:
Jon Jones (playfully laughing at me): “Dude! You are media, why are you lining up? You could have interviewed me or get autographs backstage, you don’t even need to lineup, hahahaha”
MoVernie: “Jon, see! Even as media, I couldn’t squeeze an interview with you, mind an autograph, I am lining up to get one for charity”
Jon Jones: “Sure you do, you are lying” (Jon was all laughing, joking and playfully saying that, but you know deep down, he was having fun and appreciate my effort).
MoVernie: “It’s part of my mission to give back to charity, it’s something I wanted to do”.
Jon Jones: “I am ONLY teasing you. It’s great you are doing this for charity, keep up the great work! Hand him your camera so he can take a photo of us”
The “him” that Jon was referring was his manager, he wanted me to hand my camera to his manager. At this moment, Jon was concentrating on signing his autographs on my item with my gold marker, and I handed my camera to his manager to snap a photo of us.
Jon Jones: “Here you go! Listen, the autograph is still wet & not dry, make sure you don’t smudge the writing.”
MoVernie: “Jon, thanks for this. Anyone who benefits from the charity will thank you”
From this entire autograph and photo experience, I got to see the good hearted side of Jon Jones. Although, we often see him smashing and striking an opponent on the violent Octagon, he is also an ordinary person just like us off the stage and just being a humble, friendly person.
What strike me was that, despite the gold marker wasn’t as functional and smooth as it could be, Jon needed to write extra hard before the ink can come out. He didn’t got mad or pissed or anything. Instead, he took his time to make it look legible.
And for him to instruct me to ensure to keep the autographs dry and not get any smudge, it showed you how much he cares about every detail and how much precision he wants from everything that he does and he also know this item is for charity that he wants to give his best autograph to the charity. That what hits me the most.
It was a feel-good story and I really enjoyed the process and the autograph experience. I wish Jon Jones his continual success on the UFC Competition. Toronto has a place for him as he had won his titles here in Toronto. This city treats him very well.