It’s been seven months since Jon Jones fought Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. Even though Jones knocked out his arch rival in that bout, he still came away with a huge L since he was popped for steroids after the fight. The decision was overturned to a No Contest and the UFC (once again) stripped him of the Light Heavyweight championship.
This week, Jones finally got hearing before the California State Athletic Commission (which was the governing body for UFC 214) to attempt to defend himself from a harsh punishment, that could reach as far as a four-year suspension.
It went poorly.
Jones and his management team did very little to actually defend the former champ, even admitting that Turinabol was definitely found in his system — but denying he took it intentionally. They trotted out a lie detector test that Jones voluntarily took and pointed to all the other negative tests that Jones produced in the same time frame. They couldn’t produce any evidence of a tainted supplement. Basically, Jones just sat there insisting he didn’t do it.
“Who’s stupid enough to do steroids not consistently leading up to a fight?” Jones said during the hearing. “I’ve never done steroids, but any person with common sense would know not to do steroids, one dose like a week before your fight. It makes no sense … you guys know this makes no freaking sense. Why would I do steroids a week before my fight?”
When asked how the banned substance might have gotten into his system, Jones offered this theory:
“I’m just trying to imagine any scenario, maybe somebody that doesn’t like me possibly doing something to me,” Jones said. “Maybe a meal or a drink. Which can drive a person crazy, trying to think of that kind of stuff.”
Jones was even forced to admit that he wasn’t even aware of many of USADA’s policies, because his management team completed the “mandatory” online training courses for him and then had Jones sign his name to signify he did them. Jones’ history of controversy was also brought up, including a previous failed drug test (that he blamed on off-brand male enhancement pills) and a hit-and-run incident that Jones claimed cost him “damn near a million dollars” to settle.
In the end, the CSAS fined him $205,000 ( a percentage of his fight purse that night) and revoked his license to compete in MMA in California. Other states (and the UFC itself) will also recognize that punishment. Technically, Jones can reapply for his license one year after the date of the infraction, but he still has a USADA hearing to go through, where the harsher punishment could be handed down.
The United States Antidoping Agency has become much stricter in recent years, and a two-time offender like Jones could be facing a two-to-four year (or longer) ban, depending how much USADA buys into Jones’ defense theories.
“I want to make it clear that I do not believe we should end Mr. Jones’ career,” said CSAC head Andy Foster. “But I do believe he should sit out for a while. He’s already sat out a good while. I guarantee he’s already missed a fight or two he could have made money on. I think we should revoke his license. That’s what my recommendation is. I don’t think Mr. Jones gets to be a professional mixed martial artist right now.”
“Let him deal with USADA, let him give their discipline, whatever that may be. When that’s completed, I’d be inclined to support Mr. Jones’ application to return to this commission to get his license back.”
Jon Jones is both the best and stupidest fighter the UFC has ever seen. He beats even the most dangerous opponents with relative ease, and should have been well on way to being considered the greatest of all-time by now. Instead, his entire career accomplishments are now in question and his future is anything but clear. He will be 31 this Summer, giving him time to salvage his career — unless USADA slaps him with a four-year (or longer) ban. It could effectively end his career.