Ask Ant: Jon Jones Edition

By Anthony Walker Sep 21, 2018

Kung Fu Tze asks: Well... huge MMA News. Jon Jones is pretty much back. What do you think of the USADA situation, some fighters getting some major time whereas Jon who "snitched" can headline UFC 230. Is the system broken?

Wow, how could we not start off this edition of Ask Ant without addressing the major news on regarding the ongoing drama surrounding Jonny “Bones” Jones? The short answer to this question is simply: Yes, the system is broken. It’s very broken. Broken to the point of being ineffective and one step shy of becoming a joke.

The problem is not necessarily that Jones is essentially off the hook following his second time testing positive for banned substances in the USADA era. The circumstances of the turinabol found in his system during fight week for last July’s UFC 214 are certainly unusual to say the least. In that respect, it’s good that there is some form of failsafe for fighters who want to push back at the initial ruling. The problem is the lack of consistency.

The partnership between the Ultimate Fighting Championship and USADA has been a mixed bag of suspensions, exonerations, chaos and confusion without any sort of reasonable thread between all of these events. Keep in mind that while Jones was eventually cleared of any malicious intent, Lyoto Machida was put on the bench for 18 months despite him meeting that same condition. Also, Machida volunteered his usage of 7-Keto-DHEA, a banned substance that is believed to have a mild effect on fat loss and metabolism. On the other hand, there were metabolites of a well-known anabolic steroid found in Jones.

Chad Mendes just got back into action after serving the full two years of his suspension for GHRP-6. He claims that it was an ingredient in a psoriasis cream he was prescribed. The common tie between Mendes, Machida, and Jones is that they proclaimed no ill intent for the banned substances. However, Jones is the only one of the three with multiple violations.

Another odd aspect of this fiasco is how USADA has handled the former champion while the case was pending. Jones was still under contract with the UFC, therefore still in the testing pool, and working toward reclaiming his eligibility. Seems like it would be a good idea for someone to make a visit to Albuquerque on a semi regular basis to make sure the man who has been flagged for two out of his three bookings under the drug testing program is above board. Instead, they found it more useful to test his rival Daniel Cormier ten times so far this year. That was the number of times bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw was tested as well. Both of those men have no known history of banned substance use.

Fighters like Hector Lombard and Donald Cerrone, both of whom ran afoul of drug tests in the past, found themselves urinating in a cup ten and eleven times respectively. Somehow Jones escaped this level of scrutiny and was reportedly only tested once this year as of late August. (As of this writing the USADA website says it has been four times.)

See the similarities? Me either.

As far as the “snitching” goes, it’s just another thread to be unraveled. It’s no surprise that authority figures would wave freedom in front of someone at the expense of others. It’s a classic trick that has been in use for centuries. This time, I don’t expect much to come from it. If I had to guess, I’d say this was simply lip service and Jones won’t end up being MMA’s answer to Jose Canseco -- or maybe I should say Sammy the Bull, since Canseco actually has a pro MMA record. Not because I find it hard to believe that Jones would ever drop dime on his colleagues who shop on the wrong aisle at GNC, but because it’s hard to believe much from UFC/USADA partnership at this point.

Drag Racer asks: In the aftermath of this latest ruling regarding Jon Jones, what do you think the chances are of USADA eventually being dropped by the UFC?

This a very good question and a very logical response to yesterday’s big news. MMA Twitter is in a frenzy right now about USADA. Words like corruption, joke and as Khabib Nurmagomedov said, “No. 1 bull***t,” were frequently used. Perhaps heavyweight contender Curtis Blaydes had the most eloquent take on the matter, as seen in the tweet at the top of this article.

Why does USADA exist at this point? So far we’ve had huge fights fall out and fighters of all levels of fame and importance lose time on their careers. We’ve had several high profile free agents jump ship to other promotions without the same requirement to have their whereabouts tracked at all times. And now we’ve seen a noticeable and obvious crack in this “independent third party” system call the integrity of the sport into question at a time when every other measurable standard of sporting integrity has already been jeopardized.

USADA has simply not been good for the health of the UFC. While anti doping is a noble pursuit and clean athletics should be the norm, the execution has left a lot to be desired for a wide variety of reasons. This is a prime example of what’s wrong.

A repeat offender has been given just enough punishment to leave the door open for to main event a marquee card when the promotion was desperate for star power. Let’s not forget, fellow member of the UFC 200 guilty crew Brock Lesnar was allowed to back door his way into a big payday for the promotion and looks poised to do it again early next year. If you believe that this is all a coincidence, I have some beach front property up for sale in Oklahoma if you’re interested.

One of the big splashes made when Endeavor took over ownership from the Fertitta brothers was the massive cuts to the budget. The legacy salaries of Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes were stopped and longtime UFC employees found themselves laid off in an effort to save money and streamline the operation. When the brass gets an idea for how much backlash they’ve received on all fronts and, more importantly, the disruptions to the bottom line when compared to the price tag of the drug testing program, it is very possible that athletic commissions will once again be solely responsible for catching steroid users. Maybe extensive testing will be used for individual bouts, like Georges St. Pierre proposed before the Johny Hendricks fight, but a company-wide move that has an eye on the whole roster might be a thing of the past.

Have you known of any (at least semi-successful) Krav Maga fighters in MMA? Moti Horenstein fought in the early UFCs, but he faced essentially the same fighter twice in Mark Coleman and Mark Kerr - which didn't give a showcase of his skills. Do you know of others, and how they fared? Also, hypothetically, if you had to pick only one style to know - Krav Maga, boxing, muay thai, wrestling, or BJJ - for self-defense which would it be? Thanks.

Off the top of my head, I don’t know of too many Krav Maga fighters who were successful in mixed martial arts. But there are a few. Karolina Kowalkiewicz comes to mind. She was introduced to martial arts when she started training in Krav as a teenager. This lead to her branching off into Muay Thai, which opened the doors for MMA. She’s currently a certified instructor and has a few YouTube videos demonstrating her abilities.

Bas Rutten is probably the most well-known MMA fighter with ties to Krav Maga. He wrote the foreword in the Krav Maga Worldwide curriculum book and wears the pants in his classic self-defense videos.

Color commentator and former fighter Jimmy Smith spent some time learning Krav on his old show “Fight Quest.” In his last outing, he submitted Jason Chamber, another eventual color commentator who trained in Krav, on his old show “Human Weapon.”

Other than those examples, I’m drawing a blank for any notable names. However, there are other fighters who have trained in military-derived systems that are nearly identical. Neil Magny and Tim Kennedy excelled at Army Combatives before their time in the UFC. Colton Smith was an instructor in Army Combatives as well. Brian Stann credits his black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP) for his eventual success in the Octagon.

As far training in only one discipline for self-defense, I’d have to go with Krav. It’s definitely a jack-of-all-trades sort of thing, but unless you plan on getting into a bar fight with the guy that has cauliflower ear and a Reebok fight kit, you should be fine with that. But buyer beware, there are some atrocious examples of self-defense training out there. If you want to learn self-defense, train at a good school that’s tough and slightly psychotic.

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