UFC 232: Jon Jones Has Returned, But It Seems No One Is Ready to Exhale Just Yet

Jon Jones UFC
Jon Jones Credit: Matt Hunter/Sherdog.com

Jon Jones triumphant return at UFC 232 has everyone waiting with bated breath, because frankly, it’s a once bitten, twice shy scenario.

Keep holding your breath. At least for a few more weeks. We’ve been here before, after all. When Jon Jones returned to action at UFC 214 last year, he silenced critics with a crushing head-kick knock out of rival Daniel Cormier. For about two weeks. Then, the drug test results came back. Jon failed, miserably. It was his second test failure under the USADA regime. He was looking at up to a four year ban. It didn’t happen, of course — fifteen months was the sentence handed down. Now, here we are again. Jones returned at UFC 232. Vanquished another old foe, Alexander Gustafsson. Won back the title he has been stripped of three times.

Keep holding your breath. Until enough time has passed that we know for sure. And lest anyone think this is an attack on Jones, it isn’t. It’s the reality the star has landed himself in. We live in an era where Jon Jones has failed more drug tests than Brock Lesnar. Let that one sink in for a little bit. In an era where Josh Barnett was let off with a warning after taking his case to arbitration — but in which Jones has been suspended not once but twice.

Never mind all his other shenanigans, the car crashes and coke benders. Jones, from a pure sporting perspective, is a gamble.

The UFC chose to roll the dice by moving an entire event for him on Saturday. Maybe for him is the wrong word — for their own bottom line. In a year where Conor McGregor frankly saved the company’s PPV revenue yet again, they needed at least one more big event. Jones gave that to them, even if it was Amanda Nunes who stole the show. That didn’t matter heading in though. The story was Jones. Just for all the wrong reasons.

Jones, of course, failed yet another drug test heading into UFC 232. You can call it an atypical finding, but realistically, it’s a failure. A USADA rep later told Cageside Press it was a “double jeopardy” situation. Essentially, you can’t be suspended for the same incident twice. Assuming the science is accurate and the sixty or so picograms of a turinabol metabolite found in Jones’ system is from his original consumption of the substance.

They believe it is. Unnamed experts in the field can attest to that, apparently. Thus far, none have been made available to the media. But when you get right down to it, no one has ever come up with a reason the steroid was in Jones’ system in the first place. No “tainted supplement” was ever found. No “d*ck pills” this time either.

Still, the UFC rolled the dice, pissed off a host of other fighters in the process, and moved the event. Should Jones sail through the next few weeks without issue, then history will likely side with them. However, let’s be frank: Dana White’s reaction to a potential Jones drug test failure was to say at the UFC 232 post-fight press conference that “I’m going to kill myself” if it happens again. When you’ve reached that point with your star, it’s a problem.

And only Jon Jones is to blame for that. Not the media, and no amount of yelling “better journalism” will change that. Not the fans, not the promotion, not his peers. Jon Jones is the reason we need to hold our breath at least a few weeks more.