T.J. “Tombstone” Jones – Family Man and Warrior

Heavyweight Fighter/Meat worker/Family man T.J. Jones

Like most of you last weekend, I watched Bellator, excited for their offering to the fight week. We then got treated to a young and humble heavyweight, put in a tough spot for a debut, thrill us and make us laugh. He was animated, loud, smiling and helped us get excited for a fight others were overlooking. A meat plant worker with dreams of MMA glory. A man who not only works hard for his family, but fights for them too.

The fight didn’t quite go to plan for T.J. Jones, however he stood like a warrior no matter what. Plus, the fight added some fun controversy by the end that sent the crowd into a shower of boos. The fight ended in a first-round submission by 1-0 Jake Hager, improving him to 2-0. However, it would be the same choke that, coupled with T.J.’s magnetic personality, has us still talking about this fight well into the next week.

T.J.’s magnetic personality has us still talking about this fight.

When pictures of Jake Hager and his 1-1 opponent T.J. Jones first hit the net early in fight week. They went viral amid jokes like “What bar stool did they find that guy on?” or “Look , Jack Swagger is fighting Jack Black.” The jokes pretty much ended by Friday and attention then turned to T.J.’s personality. He joked, poked fun at himself, and even Jake talked a little smack. The fight itself was not exactly what T.J. planned, but he certainly got our attention. I was very pleasantly surprised by T.J.’s quick response to my request for an interview. The two of us sat and chatted via Facebook, and I could easily see T.J.’s electric personality shine through in every response.

Attention turned to T.J.’s personality. He joked , poked fun at himself, and even Jake talked a little smack.

J.J. Poland, from MMA Tribune: “First what has it been like since the big T.V. debut?”

T.J.- “A lot of attention, but it has been a very cool experience.”

What if anything do you feel you could have done differently?

T.J.- “Practice more wrestling, and throw more punches,” T.J. responded with laughter.

I think what everyone wants to know is, did the choke being held long piss you off, or leave you feeling disrespected?

T.J.- “Piss me off? Yes, it did. However I hold no grudge.”

Did you talk to Jake about it after the fight or was it just left in the cage?

T.J.- “We did speak in the cage and out of it. I told him the same thing I said in the post fight press conference. You have to be professional, holding a choke like that, after the ref is pulling you off is a bullshit thing to do. In the back, we shook hands, took a few pictures and went our separate ways.”

Hager held on to the choke well after the tap and forced the ref to pull him off.
T.J. Continued to show what kind of warrior he was by losing graciously, even raising Jake Hager’s hand after the controversial choke.

You were pretty rambunctious at the weigh-ins and press conference. Is that you being you or living it up in the moment?

T.J.- “Me being me. I loved it all, every second of it. I was very blessed.”

You seem pretty upbeat despite the loss. Do you think you learned a lot from the fight and the experience? Or was it just another day at the office?

T.J.- “I wasn’t supposed to be there, I hit the fighter’s lotto if you will. In life you win or you learn – I learned so much from the amazing fighters on the card, and from the staff, and from the legends of the sport. If I take everything into account, I didn’t lose anything. I gained a lifetime of knowledge.”

So, what’s next for you? New training plans or what?

T.J.- “Training camp starts tomorrow, and we’re looking at a few options at the moment. Nothing is set.”

Are there any plans or talk of us seeing you again in Bellator anytime soon?

T.J.- “There have been some rumors that I’ll be back in Bellator, but no official word.”

I bet it was hard to return to work after a fight week, and all the fun and attention.

T.J.- “Very damn hard.” TJ answered with a big laugh.

Have you been getting a lot of attention at work and from the family.

T.J.- “I’ve gotten a lot of attention, but work is work. I only care what my family feels.”

Did you take the family to fight week or did they watch from home?

T.J.-“No I missed them the whole week, but I fight for them so it’s easier.”

Thank you so much for the interview and for a great fight!

T.J – “It was a lot of fun, and it means the world. Thank you!”

Win or lose T.J. fought hard and took the challenge head on.

All in all, it’s obvious T.J. is exactly who he was at the press conferences and weigh-ins – a fun, happy, electric personality, and a hard working family man. If the controversy from the fight gets him more attention, I for one am glad. T.J. is the kind of guy we want our warrior heroes to be; charismatic, honest, humble and hard working. I hope we see a lot more from T.J Jones, and hopefully plenty of success finds him

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