UFC interim light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (pictured) didn’t receive the outcome he had been hoping for from the independent three-party panel who ruled on his arbitration for a failed drug test, which resulted in a one-year suspension retroactive to July 6’s positive result for clomiphene and letrozole, but Jones was grateful they confirmed that he was not a cheater.
“Although I was hopeful for a better outcome in the USADA ruling today I am very respectful of the process in which they allowed me to defend myself,” Jones said in a statement to ESPN.com. “I have always maintained my innocence and I am very happy I have been cleared in any wrongdoing pursuant to the allegations made that I had intentionally taken a banned substance. I am pleased that in USADA’s investigation they determined I was ‘not a cheater of the sport.’
“Being cleared of these allegations was very important to me. I have worked hard in and outside of the octagon to regain my image and my fighting career and will take these next eight months to continue my training and personal growth both as a man and a athlete. Thank you to all of my fans, teammates, coaches, sponsors and to the UFC for their continued support.”
The UFC also addressed Jones’ ban in a generic statement.
“UFC is aware of the one-year sanction levied against Jon Jones as a result of his UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation, decided by a three-person arbitration panel held on Monday, October 31, 2016,” the statement read. “UFC has been advised that the one-year suspension commenced on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. While the decision indicates no evidence of Jones’ intentional use of banned substances, it does highlight the care and diligence that is required by athletes competing in the UFC to ensure that no prohibited substances enter their system.”
Jones has denied any wrongdoing since getting pulled from UFC 200 just three days before a title unification bout with light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier. The troubled 29-year-old said he has never knowingly taken any performance-enhancing drugs and blamed a tainted sexual performance pill for the flunked exam.
The USADA confirmed that the tablet, which Jones referred to as a “d*ick pill,” was in fact tainted with the banned substances.
The best-case scenario for Jones would have been a six-month suspension, similar to what fellow UFC fighters Yoel Romero and Tim Means received after it was proven the supplements they respectively consumed were contaminated, but the arbitrators “concluded that Jones’ degree of fault was at the very top end of the scale,” so he was slapped with the maximum ban allowed by the USADA.
Jones is still facing possible punishment from the Nevada Athletic Commission, the committee who oversaw UFC 200. Jones’ hearing has not been set with the NAC.