Former middleweight champion Luke Rockhold recently weighed in on the decision made by USADA in the case of Jon Jones.
The two-time doping offender Jones was handed his second suspension following a positive test in the summer of 2017. Given the agency’s strict policy regarding repeat offenders, logic dictated Jones would be staring at a minimum of four years on the sideline.
But by either grace, luck, or some other method, Jones wound up getting only 15 months. What’s more, the suspension was applied retroactively to the date of his failed test, making him eligible to return in October. Jones will make his Octagon return on December 29 where he’ll face Alexander Gustafsson for the light heavyweight title at UFC 232.
Rumor has it Jones “snitched” on others for PED use or involvement with PED distribution, a policy USADA offers to allow offenders to get reduced sentences. Recently suspended Fabricio Werdum says he was offered the same opportunity but turned it down. He’s now facing two years out for his first violation.
Rockhold said he believed Jones’s return was a bit early, and that the USADA situation was becoming interesting. He noted both he and teammate Daniel Cormier had been dealing with them and said they should choose to attack the right people.
Both of them have flawless records when it comes to drug tests, and Cormier is especially interested as Jones is his biggest rival in the sport – he even talked about the situation on an episode of UFC on FOX, saying USADA could no longer come to his house at six in the morning as a result of their decision.
Rockhold said: “In the beginning, it seemed like they (USADA) were doing their job. Now it seems like they’re owned. It’s sad to see, but hopefully ,it can correct itself, and we can get on the right path.” He also said people were learning how to cheat the system, a problem that could lead to the unlevel playing field USADA was supposedly brought in to stop.
Rockhold will be facing Chris Weidman at UFC 230 in a rematch from their previous clash where Rockhold handed Weidman his first ever loss and won the middleweight title. He also spoke about his teammate Cormier’s upcoming fight with Brock Lesnar, who is getting back a shot after coming off a win-turned-no-contest at UFC 200.
Rockhold said he’s softened his stance on the fight and believes it could be a good bout for Cormier financially. However, he still doesn’t have much faith in USADA, a sentiment many fighters seem to share at the moment.
While some may say Jones is getting special treatment because he is such a big star, the policy of lenient sentencing in exchange for valuable information is something other fighters have been offered – Jones just seems to have been the first one to take advantage of it and get a reduced sentence.
And though USADA may be suspect, they remain the promotion’s official anti-doping partner for now.