After defeating Daniel Cormier to win back the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on July 29th, Jon Jones was notified ~ August 22nd, by the United States Anti-Doping Association of a possible violation. Reports and rumors are flying around as to what Jon may have taken, is it a set-up, is there an error, etc. But at this point, Jones is guilty until proven innocent.
For the most part, the vast majority of fans and media have completely lost trust in anything Jon can and will say on any of this. While I am part of a select few who will allow the due process to take place, there is a part of me that simply shakes my head.
Until I am able to review all of the facts, I cannot pass judgement on Jon. Yet within me, I have a sense that I could care less about the issue. When I first heard the news, I was not surprised. I shrugged my shoulders, shook my head, felt a tad disgusted but then thought a variety of things.
Leading up to his rematch with Cormier, I heard all of the jokes, the apex of which were to keep Jones under 24 hour surveillance so there would be no way he could screw up this main event. He was tested by USADA the whole time. He made it to the fight. He competed and won. And now, 30 days later, reports of him taking a PED after the weigh-ins seem partially peculiar to me, yet not overly shocking.
For argument's sake, I can’t help but play the devil’s advocate here. I want to give Jon the benefit of the doubt, and until his due process has been completed, I believe we all should. But to be frank, I don’t believe I can.
After listening to the UFC’s Jeff Novitzky’s (Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance) portion of the live scrum after Tuesday’s Contender Series, Jon’s case with USADA is not looking good. The fact that USADA, with such a high profile case, flagged and informed the UFC of this, means there’s an unbelievably percentage, Jones had something illegal in his system.
The sample was taken after the UFC 214 weigh-ins, apparently sometime in the evening, where up until that point, Jon was clean. At that point - he was not. And if Jon knows he will be tested the following evening, at the very least, after the fight, what could he have possibly taken, that would enhance his performance the following evening, yet be out of his system in time, so he would not test positive?
According to the original outlet that broke the news, TMZ Sports, they were told Jon tested positive for Turinabol. I’m no steroid expert but some consider it a milder version of juice but can stay in your system for six months - unless you have a masking agent. So without complicating this any further, if Turinabol was in Jon’s system - game over for him.
I’ve heard of PED’s that can be in and out of your system within 24 hours, but I’ve never bought that argument. With Carbon-Isotope-Ratio Testing, anything synthetic in your system is likely going to be found, although we know the cheaters are always ahead of the testers.
While Jones was already guilty until proven innocent, this will only enhance that label. A very close friend of mine briefly discussed this scenario and tried to come up with excuses Jon may use over the following days, weeks and/or months. The only one we could have come up with, is one of the oldest in the book: a tainted supplement.
Can this have happened? Of course. Can Jon have avoided taking such a product? Yes. Can Jon or any athlete buy an over the counter product, even verified by USADA, and still test positive? Yup. Anything is possible.
But right now, the overwhelming jury that is the MMA masses appear to be over it. They just do not want anything more to do with Jon Jones. They are exhausted with this scenario. They are tired with arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, constantly being in the headlines for something other than winning a fight.
If guilty, and Jones gets a four year suspension, he would not be able to return to action until he reaches the age of 34. Think about this for a second. Since January of 2015, at age 27, and leading up to a potential suspension until July of 2021, Jon will have only competed in 3 MMA bouts. That’s a span of seven years, in his prime, where … I can’t even begin to explain or think about what this man could have and would have become.
Part of me thinks of this as an extremely sad scenario. The other part believes in you reap what you sew. Jon is still a man, Jon is still a father, but if he is found guilty, I have no idea how he could possibly look his children, his wife, his parent, brothers and family in the eyes.
If guilty, this could be much bigger than Jon Jones’ career in MMA. This will change his life for good. And he will not all the strength in the world to survive it. I have no idea what will happen next, but a part of me is very worried for Jones. We all screw up, but this could be the biggest of them all for Jon Jones.