Adam Jones has what is probably the most famous foot in jiu-jitsu right now. The purple belt from Adelaide, Australia made countless people cringe when a freak accident at a competition left his ankle looking… well, not like an ankle should look.
The photo was released into the world thanks to Jones’ brother, Craig, who also made headlines earlier this year after submitting Leandro Lo in the first round at ADCC. “I asked him to take a photo of it for me. He razzed me though and sent it straight to Kit Dale, who made it viral,” says Adam. He wasn’t too upset, though. “I’d have done the same thing.”
Lots of people shared the photo alongside a reminder to “tap before the snap,” but in reality, the injury wasn’t the result of a submission at all. “I believe I’d sat guard off a grip and [my opponent] jumped guard. He landed on my leg, causing the ankle to dislocate and then snapped the bottoms off my tibia and fibia,” recalls Jones. “I was laying on the mats for an hour before the ambulance rocked up. My coach Lachlan Giles was holding my leg up, and my bro was telling me to stop trying to look at it.” After surgery the next day, he was in a half-cast for two weeks, with two plates and ten screws “holding it all together.” He’s now in a moon boot and still can’t put weight on his bad leg for another few weeks, then he has to wait another six weeks before the boot comes off.
Adam has been training for nearly ten years, having started alongside his brother when the two were teenagers. He has his purple belt under Kane Gehling, but for the last year has been training with Craig at Absolute MMA in Melbourne after seeing how his brother’s jiu-jitsu had improved after moving there. Although Adam claims he hadn’t been able to compete as much as he’d wanted this year due to injuries, he was able to be a part of Giles and Craig’s ADCC camp, which he claims gave him “some of the hardest and most valuable training” he’d ever done. He’s also a gold medalist at the Coffs Harbour Invitational in the 98-kg no-gi advanced division. “I also got the chance to compete against two black belts, which was awesome,” he says. “The match I was in when I broke my leg was for the gold medal, which would have been cool to win at super heavyweight in the gi.”
Although Jones has a long road of recovery ahead of him, he knows he has the support of his teammates and family behind him every step of the way. “A massive thank you to Absolute MMA,” he says. “They organized a fundraiser for me to help me get back on my feet, and they raised close to $4,000. I still can’t believe the generosity and even the messages I’ve received from people I don’t even know. Also to Craig and Mikael — they looked after me big time after hospital. Ganesh from Atlas Gis for the new gi I got to break my leg in, and everyone else that visited me or brought me treats in the hospital.”
Now, Jones is back in Adelaide with his family and plans on eventually getting back on the mats at Adelaide Jiu-Jitsu with Kane “Biceps” Gehling and at M16 MMA Gym with Myles Simpson. He’s also looking forward to the birth of his daughter, who’s due on Boxing Day.
Jones’ leg may be broken, but with such supportive family and teammates, plus a super positive attitude, it’s easy to see why his spirit isn’t. Once he’s all healed up, it’s only a matter of time before we see him at the top of the podium again.
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