2017 Newsmakers: Jon Jones

FIGHT SPORTS looks at some of the biggest newsmakers in 2017 in the world of FIGHT SPORTS from December 26th up until January 1st.

Today, we look at the controversial year of former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

UFC 214

At UFC 214, Jon Jones returned to the octagon from a year long suspension. The suspension was levied due to a failed USADA test prior to UFC 200, where he was supposed to face Daniel Cormier.

The cancelled UFC 200 fight would be remade for UFC 214, where Jones would knock out Cormier, and regain his light heavyweight title.

Jones would not only win the title back, but do it with a debilitating injury.

JacksonWink MMA Head Coach Mike Winkeljohn alluded to this fact, saying Jones was actually injured

“I’ll share with you [that] a couple nights before the fight, yeah, he couldn’t lift his arm — he had hurt it wrestling,” Winkeljohn said. “He wrestled a little too hard with his partner, maybe a lack of warm-ups, I’m not sure, but it was kind of scary.

If true, Jones stepped into the cage against his biggest rival with an injured arm, Jones’ team was so nervous about it, they advised Winklejohn on what to do in regards to coaching Jones in wrestling, a Cormier specialty.

“It was one of those situations where when I was warming him up I had asked the coaches and they had agreed, they were ahead of me on this, that we shouldn’t be doing a lot of wrestling because I didn’t want Jon to have to underhook and lift with his one arm because that could potentially cause it to be hurt again and mess his mindset up. I wanted to keep that out of it hopefully so that way if it got re-injured during the fight, the adrenaline would take over. It was kind of scary, [and] nobody knew about it, there was an injury behind the scenes.

Jones never considered abandoning the fight or the game plan.

“He basically didn’t say anything other than that he’s fighting… He didn’t say anything about it. Let me put it that way. No matter how much it hurt, if it was tingling, if it felt weak, Jon didn’t say anything. He just went and fought. That’s why Jon Jones is the champion. He has that mindset.”

After a year of attempting to rehab his image and regain his championship, Jones would become a poster boy of the organization making appearances on Good Morning America. Until…

Jon Jones Tests Positive Turinabol.

In yet another unbelievable turn in the saga of Jon Jones, the recently re-crowned light-heavyweight champion failed an in-competition drug test for his UFC 214 rematch with Daniel Cormier.

TMZ first reported the story, which was then confirmed by several outlets including MMAFighting.

Jones tested positive for turinabol, a steroid that carries a two-year minimal suspension by USADA.

From there, Jones would be stripped of the title and it would be returned to Cormier, who will defend at UFC 220 in Boston.

It got a bit odd, as Jones passed a post-fight blood screening administered by USADA on July 29th. The negative test was administered just one day after Jones’ urine screening, which was positive for the anabolic steroid Turinabol.

In addition, Jones passed a pair of out-of-competition USADA drug screenings on July 6 and July 7, the former a blood and urine test, and the July 7th test being a urine test.

Jones would demand his ‘B’ sample also be tested and it would not end well for Jones.

The ‘B’ sample taken from Jones was from his in-competition collection July 28 in for his fight at UFC 214 against Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight title, came back positive Tuesday for Turinabol. The performance enhancer mainly seen in cattle is the same substance that Jones tested positive for in the ‘A’ sample.

“Mr. Jones’ B sample has confirmed the A sample findings,” USADA said in a statement through a spokesperson. “Importantly — as previously stated — due process should occur before drawing any conclusions about this matter.”

With the ‘B’ sample confirming the positive test, Jones will now begin his adjudication process with USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner. It is not certain how long this process will take as Jones will also have a disciplinary hearing on October 17th in front of the California State Athletic Commission, which also has jurisdiction in the case.

Jones is facing up to a four-year suspension from USADA, since he is a repeat offender. Last year, he tested positive for the banned substances clomiphene and Letrozol and was handed a one-year suspension.

Dana White Done With Jones

While as a guest onn The Jim Rome Show, UFC President, Dana White fielded questions from the talk show host regarding Jon Jones. White claimed that money wasn’t the driving force behind Jones’ troubles, but that they exacerbated his already wild personality.

“I don’t know. He’s not a ‘just about the money’ type guy. He’s really not that kind of guy. I just think that Jon likes to party and he’s a guy that likes to go out and have fun and do whatever it is that he does, and I think the money and the fame made it a thousand times worse.

“This guy couldn’t control himself and would completely go off the deep end. I’m not sitting here acting like Mr. Holier-than-thou, we’ve all gone and had fun and probably partied a little too much here and there, but he consistently, consistently kept doing it. Even when he would completely f**k up, he would pull himself together and come out and completely f**k up again. Even this last time when he came back, fans forgave and he was the most popular fighter and everybody wanted to see this guy succeed, and he did it again. It’s just unbelievable.”

Jones has also been dealing with legal troubles prior to the two failed drug tests. Starting in 2012, Jones was arrested on DWI charges in upstate New York but was given no jail time. Then, in 2015, Jones plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and received 18 months probation. More recently in 2016, Jones was arrested for violating his probation after being pulled over for drag racing. Jones would go on to accept a plea deal in this case, again avoiding jail time. White says these problems are more a bigger indicator of Jones; mindset, because the consequences are more severe. When faced with actions that could put him in prison, Jones kept doing “whatever it is that he does,” leading White to tell Rome that Jones cannot do better, calling the former champion “unfixable.”

“Even worse than that, this guy was looking at jail time. This judge gave him another shot and this guy was looking at some serious jail time and a lot of bad stuff and that still didn’t wake him up. If that’s not a wake-up call, you’re unfixable.”

Jones doesn’t agree with White’s assessment, as the former light heavyweight champion posted an Instagram video of him hitting mitts with the hashtags “Day 1” and “Pick Yourself Up and Start Again”.

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