In the latest chapter of the unbelievable Jon Jones saga, the former UFC champion could fight as soon as November.
The Sports Courier’s Fred Richani discusses USADA issuing a RETROACTIVE 15 month suspension for Jon “Bones” Jones, meaning the former UFC light heavyweight champion could fight as soon as after October 2018 despite multiple past offenses. More updates to be posted below as this story develops.
Official Statement from USADA (Our notable highlights in BOLD):
USADA announced today that an independent arbitrator has rendered a decision in the case of Jon Jones, of Rochester, N.Y., and determined that Jones should receive a 15-month sanction for his second violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. This decision comes after the facts of the case were presented and fully argued at an evidentiary hearing on September 15, 2018.
Jones, 31, tested positive for a prohibited substance as result of a sample collected during the in-competition testing period on July 28, 2017, before his bout at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif., an event sanctioned by the California Athletic Commission. Jones’ sample contained 4-chloro-18-nor-17β-hydroxymethyl,17α-methyl-5α-androst-13-en-3α-ol (M3), a metabolite of dehydrochlormethyltestosterone (DHCMT), or another chlorine-substituted anabolic steroid. Chlorine-substituted anabolic steroids, including DHCMT, are non-Specified Substances in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Prior to the hearing, USADA determined that a 30-month reduction in the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility was appropriate under the rules based on Jones’ delivery of substantial assistance. Evidence related to Jones’ substantial assistance was presented at the hearing and considered by the arbitrator.
The sanction was further reduced by the arbitrator based on Jones’ reduced degree of fault and the circumstances of the case, including the fact that Jones had been tested on multiple occasions leading up to UFC 214, and as recently as three weeks prior to the event, all of which yielded negative results for prohibited substances.
“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’ 15-month period of ineligibility began on July 28, 2017, the date his positive sample was collected, making him eligible on October 28, 2018. In addition, Jones’s victory at UFC 214 was recorded as a no-contest, and the UFC stripped Jones of the championship belt. The athlete’s positive test also falls under the jurisdiction of the California State Athletic Commission, which previously fined Jones $205,000 and revoked Jones’ license until the conclusion of the disciplinary process administered by USADA under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
The case was heard and the decision rendered by Richard H. McLaren, chief arbitrator from McLaren Global Sport Solutions, Inc. (MGSS), and can be found here, along with all other UFC Anti-Doping Policy arbitral decisions. Jones’ first sanction led to a one-year period of ineligibility and was imposed by an independent arbitration panel in 2016.
Pursuant to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, all UFC athletes serving a period of ineligibility for an anti-doping policy violation are required to continue to make themselves available for testing in order to receive credit for time completed under their sanction.
Fast Facts about Jon Jones:
-Two-time UFC light heavyweight champion
-Former UFC interim light heavyweight champion
-Most successful light heavyweight title defenses in UFC history (eight)
-Most consecutive light heavyweight title defenses in UFC history (eight)
-Notable wins over Daniel Cormier, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Chael Sonnen, Ryan Bader, Stephan Bonnar, and Ovince St. Preux
-Most wins in UFC light heavyweight history (17)
-Eight-time UFC performance bonus winner
Jones’ 15 months is based on a 30 month reduction for evidently turning in another fighter and/or coach and/or supplier to USADA, along with a small 3 month reduction based on the circumstances of his failed test in general.
Award was by arbitrator Richard McLaren.
— Iain Kidd (@iainkidd) September 20, 2018
Something else interesting from the arbitration award:
Jon Jones was still using cocaine both before and after testing positive for Turinabol, per the arbitration award. Was checked into a month long rehab later.
— Iain Kidd (@iainkidd) September 20, 2018
Here is the UFC/USADA rule allowing reduced sentences in exchange for bringing forward information about other parties, followed by the arbitrator’s report detailing why he reduced Jon’s sentence.
I wonder who Jon Jones testified against? pic.twitter.com/qJUOp4yUug
— JE Snowden (@JESnowden) September 20, 2018
It’s difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation. I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch of my life.
— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) September 20, 2018
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 20, 2018
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