Both Jon Jones (or more accurately, his camp), who for now remains UFC light heavyweight champion, and former champ Daniel Cormier have released statements in regards to Jones’ failed UFC 214 drug test. News of the test broke yesterday, shocking the MMA world. Jones had returned from a year-long suspension for a pair of estrogen blockers following a failed drug test in advance of UFC 200. Though cleared of intentionally taking the drugs, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, who handle the UFC’s year-round drug program, put Jones on the sidelines for a year.
Now, after reportedly testing positive for an anabolic steroid, the disgraced fighter, who has twice been stripped of UFC titles, could be banned from the sport for two years or more. Once considered a lock as one of the greatest fighters of all time, there’s also a serious question about how this will impact Jones’ legacy.
In a statement to MMA Fighting, Jon Jones’ manager Malki Kawa said that:
We are all at a complete loss for words right now. Jon, his trainers, his nutritionists and his entire camp have worked tirelessly and meticulously the past 12 months to avoid this exact situation. We are having the samples tested again to determine the validity or source of contamination. Jon is crushed by this news and we are doing whatever we can as a team, to support him.
Daniel Cormier, who Jones knocked out at UFC 214, reclaiming the UFC light heavyweight championship in the process, also spoke to MMA Fighting.
It’s hard to find words to describe how I’m feeling right now. I’m disappointed to hear the news. It’s very emotional. We as athletes are entitled to due process, and I will refrain from saying much more until I know exactly what happened.
In my mind, on July 29, I competed and I lost. I thought Jon Jones was the better man that day. I don’t know what to think anymore. I can’t believe we are going through all of this again. We will see what happens next.
Jones himself has yet to comment on the matter. However, teammate Frank Lester, an 11-6 welterweight and teammate of Jones who appeared on The Ultimate Fighter 9, posted a rather bizarre theory as to how the failure took place. Lester, who lost his one and only UFC fight at the TUF 9 finale, wrote on Facebook that
I was just at dinner sitting next to Jon Jones when he got the phone call about this failed drug test. Supposedly the story is between weigh ins and fight night he took a oral steroid. Which makes zero sense since it wouldn’t do anything at all for Jones to do so. It takes weeks for steroids to build up in your system to be a performance enhancer. Jon was devastated to say the least. This is a set up, straight up, no athlete would test clean his entire fight camp, and then randomly take some cheap fucking oral steroid between weigh ins and fight night knowing he would be tested once he got done fighting. This is a straight set up. They are trying to ruin this kids life. It makes no sense and Jon wouldn’t do it. Let’s see what happens with all of this but I truly believe Jon is innocent & I hope that all of you will give him a fair chance before you send hateful judgements his way.
While Jones is entitled to due process, this conspiracy theory ignores a number of factors. Those would include who would be out to get Jon Jones, his frankly murky history with banned substances both recreational and performance enhancing, and the fact that while Turinabol (which TMZ reports is the substance Jones failed for) is an anabolic steroid that has been around forever, it is still in use. Frank Mir was suspended by USADA last year for that exact substance.
More news is no doubt likely to follow — stay tuned!