Jon Jones appeared in front of the California State Athletic Commission today. The results of this hearing and his hearing with USADA will arguably have a greater impact on the sport than any upcoming bout.
Today’s hearing came down to whether or not Jones intentionally ingested turinabol, an anabolic steroid. Jones tested positive for the substance on July 28th, 2017. The former light heavyweight champion passed USADA tests on July 6, 7, and 29, although the test on the 29th did not test for turinabol.
What Jones’ lawyers are contending is that the level of metabolites found in his system indicates an unintended doping which would have little effect on performance. Jones’ lawyers have been unable to identify how the substance got into his system, however. Instead of identifying a possible contaminated substance, they are simply contending the levels found and the passed tests later are more consistent with Jones having ingested a contaminated substance than from him attempting to gain a competitive advantage.
Jones’ lawyers were able to show that knowledge of this substance is limited due to FDA restrictions on studying it. This sets the precedent that understanding of the data involved in this case is limited.
Jon Jones Previous Failed Tests and Hit-and-Run Incident
Jon Jones has had the UFC light heavyweight championship stripped from him twice. He’s been involved in one unfortunate incident per year for the last 3 years.
In the summer of 2015, Jones was stripped of his title following a hit-and-run incident. The summer of 2016 saw Jon Jones pulled from UFC 200 following a failed USADA test. Finally, in 2017, Jones’ victory over Daniel Cormier on July 29th was overturned following the detection of turinabol.
Jon Jones Takes Polygraph
Jones and his team have been adamant that he did not knowingly ingest turinabol or any other performance-enhancing drug.
On December 7th, 2017 Jones took and passed a polygraph test stating he did not knowingly ingest performance-enhancing drugs. PGP Polygraph & Interviewing Service administered the test in Albuquerque, NM.
Commission Rules on Jon Jones Suspension
The California Athletic Commission has voted to revoke Jon Jones’ licence to fight, resulting in him having to reapply, which can take up to one year. CSAC did have the option of suspending Jones for longer than a year but opted instead to revoke his licence and allow USADA to handle the length of his suspension. In some ways, what CSAC did today was pass the buck to USADA.
It was mentioned in today’s hearing that USADA is expected to suspend Jones for 18-24 months. Following his suspension, Jones would then have to reapply to fight in the state of California.
The Commission also voted in favor of fining Jones $205,000, 40% of his disclosed pure from his bout with Daniel Cormier.
As of this writing, there is no date set for his hearing with USADA.
What Jones’ lawyers were successful at arguing today, is that the evidence in this case is more consistent with having ingested a contaminated substance than it is with an athlete looking to gain a competitive advantage.