USADA and the UFC are done, and Jon Jones is here for it
Yesterday news broke that USADA would no longer oversee drug testing for UFC athletes. The move comes after USADA and the UFC became at odds over the handling of Conor McGregor’s re-admittance to the USADA testing pool and the timeline fowr his return to competition. The UFC wanted to skirt USADA’s existing rules and frameworks. USADA held firm. And no, as of this time of writing, there is no third party drug testing (outside of athletic commissions) involved with MMA’s premier promotion.
One person who seems delighted by this news is UFC heavyweight champion Jon Jones. He jumped on X to celebrate the demise of the UFC-USADA relationship.
“Man I survived USADA,” wrote Bones. “First they said I was guilty of having picograms then they considered me innocent, next picograms became legal. Guess what I’m still here, still unbeaten. That BS no contest over DC needs to be taken off my record. I’ve never cheated this sport and I will stand by that until the Day I die.”
Jones ended his tweet (they still called that?) with a goat emoji.
Jones’ checkered past with drug tests
Jon Jones’ list of controversies is as long as his list of sporting accomplishments. Many of those controversies sadly overshadow anything impressive he has done in the fighting arena.
In addition to his arrest for a hit and run, multiple driving offences and a domestic violence accusation, Jones ran afoul of drug testers on multiple occasions.
In 2015 it was revealed that Jon Jones tested positive for a metabolite of cocaine in a Nevada State Athletic Commission drug test prior to UFC 182. That substance is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s banned list, so Nevada had no grounds to stop him competing. The cocaine metabolite was also shown to be out of Jones’ system during the fight itself (his first victory over Daniel Cormier).
Jones’ drug testing ahead of UFC 182 also revealed a testosterone/epistesoterone ratio that drew some attention. Renowned steroid dealer Victor Conte (of the BALCO scandal) remarked that Jones’ T/E levels looked “suspicious“. NSAC later said they had conducted a Carbon Isotope Ratio test on Jones’ samples and that they had come back clean.
In 2016, Jon Jones tested positive for clompihene and letrozole in a test administered by USADA. Those substances, described as ‘hormone and metabolic modulators’ are on WADA’s banned list. This resulted in Jones being removed from UFC 200, where he was due to fight Cormier again.
Jones claimed the results were due to him taking an over the counter erectile dysfunction medication. Jones received a one-year suspension from USADA for that incident.
In 2017 Jon Jones tested positive for the anabolic steroid Turinabol in a USADA administered test. That test was taken a day before his rematch with Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 (which Jones won on the night via KO). That test result turned Jones’ win over Cormier into a no contest (the one he discussed in his tweet above) and he was stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title for the third time in his career.
Jones received a 15-month suspension from USADA for this test failure. His suspension could have been as long as four years. However, the suspension time was reduced after Jones provided “substantial assistance” to USADA. The suspension was reduced further because USADA believed Jones did not intentionally try and cheat in this case and that he was a victim of a tainted supplement.
In 2018 Jon Jones was due to fight Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 in Las Vegas. However, inconsistencies in Jones’ sample lead to him not being granted a license to fight in Nevada. This resulted in the card being moved to Los Angeles and Jones participating in testing provided by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.
The inconsistencies in that test were later believed to be trace amounts (picograms) of Turinabol stemming from his 2017 drug test failure. Neither NSAC, CSAC, USADA, VADA nor the UFC levied any disciplinary actions against Jones for this incident.
Jones is due to fight at UFC 295
Any last minute controversies notwithstanding, Jon Jones is due to defend his UFC heavyweight title at UFC 295 in Madison Square Garden on November 11. In that fight he is due to meet former UFC heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic.
Jones has long maintained that this will be his last fight.
UFC 295 is also due to feature Jiri Prochazka vs. Alex Pereira for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title and Mackenzie Dern vs. Jessica Andrade.
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