UFC 235: Jon Jones Granted One-Fight License by NSAC, Will Face Frequent Drug Tests

Jon Jones UFC 235 NSAC
Credit: Jason Burgos/Sherdog.com

After a long and drawn-out process, Jon Jones has been handed his sanctions by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for his abnormal drug test prior to UFC 232. The champion will still be fighting at UFC 235.

A live stream of the NSAC’s hearing on UFC stars Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, and Khabib Nurmagomedov can be found here, courtesy of MMA Fighting.

Jon Jones was granted a one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 against Anthony Smith in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. In addition to the favorable verdict, Jones is subject to more frequent drug tests for the remainder of 2019. Prior to March’s pay-per-view that he will be headlining, the light heavyweight champion will be tested at least twice per month, and he will pay for the tests.

Unlike Nurmagomedov and McGregor, Jones was not fined by the NSAC for his actions. While Jones’ test results and the promotion’s movement of the event from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on less than a week’s notice, Nevada did not seek compensation from Jones to make up for the lost financial gain. Jones’ leash is now shorter though, as any drug test failures could result in the removal of Jones’ license to fight in the state of Nevada, stated NSAC Commissioner Anthony Marnell.

USADA released a statement on today’s proceeding through a press release:

“We agree with and support the NSAC decision today to license Jon Jones to fight in Nevada and while USADA does not have jurisdiction over the licensing, we appreciate being able to collaborate with the NSAC to ensure a fair outcome. This decision is the same conclusion we reached based on the facts and science under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and the California Commission reached under its rules. The NSAC conducted a hearing, weighed the facts, listened to the independent experts, and appropriately determined that the trace amounts of M3 found in Jones’ samples were residual and provided no performance-enhancing benefit and respected the principle of double jeopardy. Anti-doping cases in all sports are sometimes complex and a fair system must look at each one individually, taking all evidence into account to reach a just conclusion ensuring intentional cheats are punished. We look forward to coordinating efforts with the NSAC to make certain our programs complement one another moving forward.”

UFC 235 takes place on March 2 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Still headlining the card is a light heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and red-hot contender Anthony Smith. The welterweight title is on the line in the form of Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman (not interim champion Colby Covington for some reason). Also, the anticipated promotional debut of wrestling stud Ben Askren will take place against former champion Robbie Lawler.