It’s been a long, drawn-out process, but former UFC champion Jon Jones has finally learned what his punishment will be for failing a drug test at UFC 214 in July 2017.
Jones, who beat Daniel Cormier via knockout at the event (although the result was later changed to a No Contest), received a 15-month suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on Wednesday. Jones had maintained his innocence from the beginning, and an independent arbitrator ruled that Jones’ failed test was unintentional. That is, that the banned substance only entered his system inadvertently through a tainted supplement.
Jones’ suspension is retroactive to the night of the fight, meaning that his 15-month ban actually ends in about five weeks on October 28, 2018.
“The independent arbitrator found that Jon Jones was not intentionally cheating in this case, and while we thought 18-months was the appropriate sanction given the other circumstances of the case, we respect the arbitrator’s decision and believe that justice was served,” said USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart. “This case is another strong reminder that athletes need to be extremely cautious about the products and supplements they use to ensure they are free of prohibited substances.”
Jones would technically be eligible to fight at the November 3 card at Madison Square Garden (he is from Rochester, New York), but UFC president Dana White has already made comments about Jones returning sometime in early 2019.