Due to recent history, the news of Jon Jones’ potential anti-doping violation has led to plenty of speculation about the nature of his positive test.
Of course, much of that centers around the TMZ Sports report that Jones tested positive for the anabolic steroid Turinabol. However, a statement from USADA did not reveal the the substance for which Jones tested positive, and UFC President Dana White also denied that the promotion had stripped Jones of the light heavyweight title he regained at UFC 214.
California State Athletic Commission Executive Director Andy Foster isn’t jumping to conclusions regarding the Jones case. Since UFC 214 took place in Anaheim, Calif., the CSAC has jurisdiction along with USADA over the possible anti-doping violation, which stems from an in-competition sample collected on July 28.
“I had a lot of thoughts but my first thought was: ‘Are we sure?’ That’s the first thought,” Foster said during an interview on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “…My thoughts are, if he requests it let’s see what the B-sample comes back, just for the due process rights, and let’s make sure that everything’s done by the book. A high profile athlete should be treated like any other athlete. Maybe Jones is in the spotlight more due to his stature in the sport, but he does some process rights.
“It’s important that we look to make sure that to frame that this man is innocent until found guilty and notice the words that USADA used: ‘potential anti-doping violation.’ I’m not saying there’s not an anti-doping violation. I just want to be clear that before we brand somebody a cheater, he gets his due process.”
If Jones did test positive for steroids as has been reported, Foster said it is highly unlikely that a B-sample would provide a different result.
“I actually asked the former director of the UCLA lab, ‘Has this ever happened,’ and he’s never saw it with steroids,” Foster said. “I believe he told me maybe with THC, but maybe with something like that. Not with an anabolic agent.”
The CSAC is no stranger to working with USADA on drug testing, and that goes beyond fights promoted by the UFC.
“What I can tell you is USADA is an approved CSAC collector. I do think that makes this jurisdiction perhaps different than some of the others,” Foster said. “They’re literally an approved CSAC collector. So we work with them for boxing, we work with them for many more promotions than just UFC.”
As a result, the organizations work together ahead of time for an event such as UFC 214. Both groups know who is going to be drug tested by USADA, but the CSAC can also test other athletes if it so chooses.
“When UFC comes to town, we look together on who’s going to be tested. Obviously that’s confidential information we don’t share with the media or anybody, but we know who’s going to be tested,” Foster said. “That way CSAC can plan on the folks that aren’t on that list to decide if we want to test them ourselves or not. I’m pretty sure we tested some of the guys that USADA didn’t test, but I’m not sure who that is. I know this, I haven’t received anything from my inspectors that’s adverse.”
According to Foster, Jones passed out-of-competition tests “many times” leading up to UFC 214. However, if it is determined that Jones is a repeat offender — as he already failed a drug test at UFC 200 last year — he could be facing more severe sanctions from the CSAC as well as USADA.
“We can paint everything with a broad stroke. I’m very much against doping,” Foster said. “We just don’t know all the particulars just yet. Was it a situation where this gentleman knowingly cheated? Or was it a different type of situation? In general rules, the answer is yes if they’re a second offender. I think it makes good public policy that perhaps a more stringent punishment is needed for the second offense. Again, that’s a broad stroke.”
If Jones does appeal the positive test, Foster is adamant that the Jackson-Wink MMA standout will have his day before the commission before any decisions are made.
“I don’t know what USADA is gonna do; that deal with the UFC is different. It depends on what he wants to do,” Foster said. “If he wants to appeal, he’ll have his day in front of the commission here in California. I just want to be very clear. We have not come out and said [anything]. He’s due his due process.”