The news that Jon Jones was checking into drug rehab for a cocaine issue–a decision no doubt spurred on by his testing positive for the drug before his fight with Daniel Cormier–was shocking. But, in the days since, we’ve seen the drug test results for Jones made public and there have been some potential red flags pop up while reviewing the information.
Jones’ T/E ratio was way out of line with the average. Jones’ T/E ratio on three different tests were 0.35:1 0.29:1 and 0.19:1.
The average for Jones would be 1.3 to 1:
Avg T/E ratio references. Asians .76 to 1, whites 1.2 to 1, blacks 1.3 to 1. @ufc Jon Jones 3 T/E tests were .29 to 1, .35 to 1, .19 to 1.
— Victor Conte (@VictorConte) January 7, 2015
You can say a lot about Victor Conte. He is many things, some of those things aren’t great. But his job has long been to know the science at play here and there’s no reason to ignore his expertise on the science because he can be abrasive and was at the center of massive drug scandals in Major League Baseball which landed him in prison.
Basically, [humans average] 1:1 of testosterone to epitestosterone. Asians have less. One study found them .76:1. Whites were at 1.2:1. Blacks were at 1.3:1. So you not only have individual metabolism issues you have race issues as well that affect this. So when I talk, I am talking in general terms and I am saying on average its 1:1.
This, of course, does not mean that Jones was absolutely using performance enhancing drugs, but the red flag is a very high epitestosterone number which could be indicative of someone doing something like injecting epitestosterone to mask PED use. Most ratios only catch the public’s attention if it’s over average, not below.
Speculation over the reason for Jones’ out of whack T/E ratio has been rampant on social media and in internet comment sections.
Luckily, this is a situation where speculation could quickly be ended. Jon Jones’ drug test samples still exist and a simple Carbon Isotope Ratio test could be conducted to find the result. Put simply, a CIR test would be able to determine if the testosterone in Jones’ system was synthetic or natural.
A CIR test would run between $400 and $500 to conduct on the readily available samples. Given the nature of the situation, as well as the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and UFC both insisting that they’re dedicated to a clean sport, these abnormalities should have both sides wanting to invest the money.
And, should the NSAC not have $450 or so to get it done, the good news is that Lorenzo Fertitta has repeatedly stated that the UFC will pay for any testing a commission wants done including CIR testing:
Fertitta told Yahoo Sports that the UFC embraces regulation and has told commissions that it would pay to have any fighter it has under contract tested at any time. He said that offer would include as many fighters as the commission would want and said it would cover any test, including Carbon Isotope Ratio testing.
The commission should want to do the test and the UFC has made it clear that they’ll pay.
The UFC has also been very vocal about their desire to have a PED free sport and advocates a “hard stance,” such as in this quote from Dana White last April:
“Obviously, doing away with performance-enhancing drugs not only helps us run our business, but it also helps the fighters,” White said. “If you can make sure you take a hard enough stance and you can keep these young, talented kids off these drugs, their careers are going to last longer. Once all the kids realize there is a level playing field, you have these guys paranoid, ‘I know this guy is using, I know he is, I have to fight this guy and he’s on it, so maybe I should do it too’ once we can eliminate all that it’s going to make the sport a lot better for everybody, them and us.”
The idea of running a relatively cheap test on a readily available sample to make sure that the best fighter in the world is clean of synthetic testosterone would seem to be a good way to achieve those goals.
Unless, of course, they’d rather not know.
About the author