Since waking up to social media’s collective gasp of astonishment on Wednesday morning at the news that Jon Jones in competition urine sample from UFC 214 had tested positive for Chlorodehydromethyltestosterone [aka Turinabol], I’ve been at a bit of a loss as to what to add to the discussion.
Jon Jones’ story has been one of a naturally gifted athlete whose domination of his division has been absolute throughout his career at the UFC. Heck, Gustafasson’s greatest victory wasn’t even a victory – it was merely a loss that made Jones look human and fallible. Jones has made fighting look effortless – as natural to him as breathing. And we, the fans, have accepted this as the truth of the man.
It’s the reason why, despite the cocaine, the partying, the fleeing from auto-wrecks with pregnant women, the jail time and the rivalry with DC, I have always hoped that Jones would sort his shit out and get back to doing what God surely put him on this Earth for – and that was to be the UFC’s Light Heavyweight champion.
That was his talent. That was what made him worthy of admiration – despite any personal BS and baggage he might be wading through.
After serving his suspension for a previous failed drug test that led to the cancellation of what should have been his validation and comeback against Daniel Cormier, we finally got to see the Jon Jones of old return to the octagon and reclaim ‘his’ belt at UFC 214.
All the rhetoric surrounding the fight painted an image of an older, more mature Jones, who had seen the error of his ways and was seeking redemption and a way to get back to his fan’s good graces by taking the title back from Cormier.
And he did, spectacularly.
And he was magnamous in victory, praising his opponent.
He did everything right and, for a few short weeks, the Jones of old was back and worthy of respect once more.
Until Tuesday night, when the UFC had to issue the following statement about the LHW champ:
“The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Jon Jones of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected following his weigh-in on July 28, 2017.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Jones, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) also retains jurisdiction over this matter as the sample collection was performed the day before Jones’ bout at UFC 214 in Anaheim, CA, and USADA will work to ensure that the CSAC has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of Jones’ potential anti-doping violation.
Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”
Jones’ camp were quick to respond, with a hastilly penned rebuttal:
“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.”
Hardest hit, of course, was Daniel Cormier – the man who had his own self-belief shaken to the core by Jones at UFC214. His statement to MMA Fighting was carefully worded, but loaded with emotion:
“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. Thank you to all my fans who have supported me during this dark time. I love you all very much.”
In the following hours, social media pundits have all weighed in with a deluge of opinion, theory and conjecture – tainted samples, conspiracy, heck, even Illuminati.
Jones’ team have called for a retest and appealed the USADA test result, but the mud has already begun to stick. We await the outcome with interest – and a slightly sorrowful sense of disappointment…