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Jon Jones Suspension Odds: Will USADA Bury “Bones?”

Trevor Dueck

by Trevor Dueck in Mixed Martial Arts News

Feb 28, 2018 · 2:45 PM PST

Will Jon Jones' (R) fight with Daniel Cormier (L) at UFC 214 be the last time we ever see him in the octagon? Photo by UFC on FOX (YouTube).
  • Jon Jones has been punished by the CSAC and will face the USADA next.
  • Will Jones’ shaky defense hold up in a USADA arbitration?
  • How long will the one-time UFC champion be suspended?

Jon Jones stood in front of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) and pretty much employed the “pinky swear I didn’t do it” defense in trying to explain away his positive drug test prior to UFC 214. To this day, he claims he has no idea how that pesky steroid (Turinabol) ended up in his body, and claims it may have been a result of a contaminated supplement.

If you can’t come up with a better strategy than pleading and swearing on the heavenly father above, it’s either time to fire your council or give up the fight.

The most revealing part of the hearing came when Jones admitted that he never actually completed the US Anti-Doping Agency’s (USADA) “anti-doping training program” and had his management team forge his signature on documents certifying that he had. Oops…

Unsurprisingly, the CSAC wasn’t overly convinced by Jones’ arguments. While it didn’t throw the book at him, it did toss a few chapters his way, voting unanimously to revoke Jones’ fight license and levy $205,000 in fines, rendering him ineligible to fight in the state of California. Now Jones is off to plead his case before the USADA (hearing date TBD), where he is potentially facing a four-year ban.

The backstory is quite strange. Turinabol needs to be taken far in advance to have any real effect, and conspiracy theories have been flying about spiked drinks and laced Chinese cocaine. Will any of those far-fetched theories sway the USADA or is Jones in line for a lengthy suspension? Is there any chance he returns this year to face Brock Lesnar, as previously rumored?


Jon Jones kicking Ryan Bader at UFC 126.
Jon Jones, seen here kicking Ryan Bader at UFC 126, could receive a four-year ban from the USADA. Photo by Haxe70 (YouTube).



Jon Jones does seem completely baffled about how Turinabol was found floating around in his body, but the USADA has seen this negligence act from Bones before.

Back in October of 2016, Jones was insistent that, despite the banned substances Clomiphene and Letrozole being found in his system prior to UFC 200, he didn’t intend to cheat. He said that he had taken a “d— pill” given to him by a friend, which he believed at the time to be Cialis. The USADA arbitrators responded:

“On the evidence before the Panel, the Applicant is not a drug cheat. He did not know that the tablet he took contained prohibited substances or that those substances had the capacity to enhance sporting performance. However by his imprudent use of what he pungently referred to as a “d— pill” he has not only lost a year of his career but an estimated nine million dollars. This outcome which he admits to being a wake-up call for him should serve as a warning to all others who participate in the same sport.”

The idea that [Jones] could possibly fight Brock Lesnar at the end of 2018 is a fading dream.

The USADA is rarely this forgiving, and they already gave the former light-heavyweight champ a light sentence (one-year suspension). This second offense could keep him out up to four years, potentially spelling the end of the former champ’s career.

That said, something in the range of a two-year suspension (including time served) is a more logical penalty, looking at his past transgressions and the strange specifics of the current case.

At 30 years old and as talented as Jones is, he could definitely rebound from that and fight again. But with the USADA hearing yet to be scheduled, the idea that he could possibly fight Brock Lesnar at the end of 2018 is a fading dream.

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