While it still might not be clear how the anabolic steroid Turinabol ended up in Jon Jones’ system during an in-competition drug test in relation to UFC 214, there is at least some clarity regarding the punishment for his transgression.
During a hearing on Tuesday, the California State Athletic Commission revoked Jones’ license in the state and fined him 40 percent of his purse -- $205,000 – from UFC 214. The revocation comes with a one-year period of ineligibility, meaning that Jones will not be able to reapply for a license until August at the earliest. That term is expected to be recognized in other states and by the UFC, as well. Jones was also fined an additional $5,000 by CSAC.
Jones defeated Daniel Cormier via third-round TKO at UFC 214 in Anaheim, Calif., on July 29. That result was overturned to a no contest and Jones was stripped of the 205-pound belt once news of the failed drug test surfaced.
“Let USADA give their discipline, when that’s completed, I’ll be inclined to support Jones in getting his license back,” CSAC Executive Officer Andy Foster said. “"I do not believe we should end Mr. Jones’ career today, but I do believe he should sit out for a while.”
Under the terms of that punishment, Jones must show some signs of rehabilitation before he can have his license reinstated, making it different than a typical suspension. Additionally, the period could be longer if Jones is suspended by USADA.
There is no guarantee that USADA will impose a similar penalty. In fact, Jones could face up to a four-year suspension from USADA as a second-time offender. In 2016, he tested positive for two anti-estrogen agents, which resulted in him being pulled from a UFC 200 bout against Cormier. Jones went on to claim that the failed test was the result of a tainted sexual enhancement pill, but he was still given a one-year suspension for negligence.
"This situation is just really, really crappy. I don’t understand how any of this happened. … None of this stuff makes sense to me,” Jones said during his testimony on Tuesday. “I have no clue how this happened. I’m just trying to figure it out, like everyone else."
Apparently, no one else could, either. Jones’ team brought Paul Scott, who runs an anti-doping analytics and research lab, to testify as an expert witness on the fighter’s behalf. Scott claimed that Jones’ positive test likely came from a tainted supplement, although all of the light heavyweight’s supplements were tested and none came back positive for Turinabol. According to Jones’ attorney Howard Jacobs, that included approximately 15 supplements as well as massage creams.
Scott notably served as an expert witness in the Nevada Athletic Commission hearing for Anderson Silva’s failed drug test at UFC 183. Scott confirmed to the CSAC that he was being paid $395 per hour for his work for Jones’ defense.
Meanwhile, Daniel Eichner, president of the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL) in Salt Lake City, was present to testify for the state of California. According to Eichner, it was “impossible to make a determination” that Jones’ failed test came from a tainted supplement, and that the SMRTL had never seen a supplement contaminated by Turinabol. However, Eichner admitted that with the large array of supplements available, such a contamination is not unfeasible. He also confirmed that Jones had a “low level” of Turinabol in his system.
Jones, who was questioned about his troubled past during the hearing, claimed that he has changed over the years. However, the Jackson-Wink MMA standout also admitted that his management signed documents for him saying he viewed USADA tutorials which he did not actually watch.
“To purposely do steroids like a week before a fight and ruin all those months talking to all those kids, it would just be stupid,” Jones said. “I’m absolutely not the same person I was three years ago when I got into a hit-and-run car accident.”
Through it all, Jones continued to maintain his innocence. That declaration alone won’t make it any easier for him to make it back to the Octagon in 2018.
"You can call me many things. You can call me a party boy, wild child, knucklehead … but a cheater is something I will never admit to,” Jones said. “That’s something I’ll never say that I am."
I want to thank csac for taking the time and hearing my case, and executive officer Andy Foster for saying he believes me.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) February 27, 2018