When it was optional, Jon Jones said, “No thanks.” Now, the former UFC light heavyweight champion has no choice if but to enroll in Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) testing if he wants to fight on Saturday.
According to a report from ESPN.com, Jones was required by the California State Athletic Commission to agree to VADA testing if his title bout against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 was to be approved. Jones will become the first MMA fighter to be enrolled simultaneously in VADA and USADA, the UFC’s mandatory anti-doping program.
On Sunday, the promotion moved UFC 232 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., after the Nevada Athletic Commission declined to license Jones due to irregular findings in his drug test results. Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s VP of Athlete Health and Performance, claimed that USADA and other doping experts confirmed that the trace elements of steroid metabolite found in Jones’ system were residual effects from the fighter’s positive test for Turinabol in July 2017.
While the NAC will require Jones to appear at an evidentiary hearing in January to discuss the results of his recent drug test results, CSAC executive officer Andy Foster echoed Novitzky’s sentiment that “Bones” was not guilty of another positive test. Jones reportedly flew to California over the weekend to be tested, and the results were negative.
At a CSAC licensure hearing earlier this month CSAC requested that Jones enroll in VADA. While the commission would cover the cost of the testing, Jones declined, as his attorney, Howard Jacobs, claimed there were “some issues” with the testing. For Foster, who seems to have no doubts regarding Jones’ innocence in this case, the additional testing is about proving as much to the rest of the world.
"Jon Jones is certainly clean right now. That's not questionable," Foster told ESPN. "The Nevada commission did not have enough time to get this thing done, but this is not about California taking a fight Nevada would not. And out of respect for Nevada, I've kept all the officials working the fight the same as it would have been in Las Vegas.
"This is also not a slight on the USADA program. I have an interest in clearing this narrative out there that Jon Jones is on steroids. We flew him on a plane two days ago to make sure he doesn't have steroids in his system. There are a lot of people out there saying he is, and that is misinformation. "If [VADA president Dr. Margaret Goodman] tests Jon Jones and reports back he's completed this program, I don't know how that narrative can continue."
VADA is similar to USADA in many aspects, but one notable difference is that it does not handle sanctioning for failed drug tests. Instead, VADA reports all results to the athletic commission, which is then in charge of handling adjudication.