The man who is arguably the world’s most controversial mixed martial arts fighter went before the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) to find his fate after failing a drug test for the second time in his career.
Jones’s positive result came from a sample collected the day of the UFC 214 weigh-ins. Jones would go on to defeat old rival Daniel Cormier on that card, finishing him and regaining the light heavyweight championship. But once the 30-year-old fighting great’s test results came back, the win and his championship status were overturned.
Jones appeared before the CSAC on February 27, where he was grilled over the presence of Turinabol in his system. Jones’ case is a bit more complex than most, as he also failed a drug test prior to his first bout with Cormier in 2016.
Jones and his attorney both claimed he was innocent, in the sense he didn’t knowingly take the substance. The trace amounts of metabolites in his system and the fact he passed tests weeks before the bout seemed to provide backing for these claims.
While Jones testified that he had no idea how the substance got in his system, he did not escape punishment. The CSAC voted unanimously to suspend Jones’s license, which equates to a temporary ban from the sport. Jones will not be eligible to reapply for his license until August.
The CSAC also issued Jones a $205,000 fine, the maximum they could levy on him for the infraction.
CSAC official John Cavelli gave a message to Jones, saying: “Mr. Jones, I want to see you fighting as soon as possible. I hope you believe me. I hope you’re listening to some of the things I’ve told you and the other commissioners. Think about the people around you and the things you’re still doing. You are a unique, outstanding athlete. We want to see you in the cage as soon as possible. Come back to us.”
But the CSAC isn’t the only organization Jones must answer to. He still has to deal with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the UFC’s drug-testing partner. If given the maximum punishment for his second failed test, Jones could potentially be out of the fight game for four years.
While the subject of tainted supplements has come up, Jones claimed he had all of his tested. With a lack of lab evidence to go off of, the commission instead went by Jones’s past history of questionable behavior when making their ruling.
A positive cocaine test in 2014, a car accident where he fled the scene in 2015, and a failed drug test in 2016 all paint Jones in a negative light. Despite the fact he made amends for some of his transgressions, it is their frequency that really makes Jones’ innocence a tough sell.
If he is suspended for four years by USADA, it may not spell the end of his career. However, such an absence would likely cause his already dwindling fanbase to continue to shrink.