UFC's most controversial fighter tested positive for drugs again, but this time he won't be punished

Sean M. Haffey/GettyThe mixed martial arts fighter Jon Jones.
  • MMA fighter Jon Jones tested positive for a trace of a long-term metabolite steroid that he’d previously been suspended for before UFC 232 in December, according to a report.
  • But Jones won’t be punished because other tests turned up clean, and there is science to suggest the substance has lingered in his system.
  • Jones previously served a 15-month suspension for the same steroid and had tested positive for two banned substances and cocaine.

The mixed martial arts fighter Jon Jones was tested in competition before his UFC 232 fight against Alexander Gustafsson, and a trace amount of the long-term oral Turinabol metabolite was found in his sample, according to MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi.

The steroid metabolite is the same that Jones had previously tested positive for, which led to a 15-month suspension in 2017 (his suspension was shortened because he cooperated in other matters). The test was administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) during weigh-ins for UFC 232 on December 28.

Jones has served drug-related suspensions twice before and has tested positive for banned substances, including steroids and cocaine. He had his licence revoked in early 2018 and has faced a four-year ban for repeated violations.

At his press conference for UFC 232, Jones pushed back against a reporter’s questions about his drug tests, telling her “You suck” and asking her to be removed.

Jones won’t be punished by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) for the recent test because there was “no evidence that Jones had readministered a banned substance and no performance-enhancing benefits,” Raimondi reported.

According to Raimondi, CSAC executive officer Andy Foster said that subsequent tests done by the commission, VADA, and UFC partner USADA, the US Anti-Doping Agency, came back clean.

Jeff Novitzky, the UFC vice president of athlete health and performance, told MMA Fighting that there was some science to suggest that the traces of the long-term metabolite could pop up during training or weight-cutting. There was no evidence of the short-term metabolite.

“There was no parent compound and none of the short- or medium-term metabolites, which tend to stick around for three or weeks [sic],” Novitzky told MMA Fighting. “So this is even more indicative that for whatever reason this long-term metabolite is just hanging around in these tissues and they get expressed when you’re going through weight loss.”

Novitzky said that USADA was not granting Jones a “get-out-of-jail-free card,” saying that in each test it was looking for different things.

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Jones won UFC 232 by third-round TKO to regain the UFC light heavyweight belt.

In February 2018, Jones had his fighting licence revoked but was reinstated in December.

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