Jones Given Backdated 15 Month Suspension
After 14 months, it seems Jon Jones will be returning to the Octagon, and possibly in the main event of UFC 230 in Madison Square Garden.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion has resolved his issues with USADA, as he has been given a 15-month suspension following arbitration over a failed drug test prior to UFC 214.
The suspension is retroactive to the date of the failed sample, July 28th, 2017, making him eligible to fight as early as October 28th.
The decision allows Jones to be eligible to fight at UFC 230 on November 3rd at Madison Square Garden, a card that is currently without a main event.
Jones and his legal team met with USADA representatives and arbitrator Richard H. McLaren on Saturday, with USADA determinging there should be a two year and six month reduction of Jones suspension due to “Jones’ delivery of substantial assistance.”
McLaren would reduce the suspension to 15 months, taking into account that he passed multiple out-of-competition drug tests leading up to UFC 214, before failing the in-competition test. Jones would be tested eight times in 10 months prior to UFC 214 and would only fail the final test.
Jones told McLaren that he unknowingly took a banned substance and did not know how a steroid metabolite got in his system. Jones submitted over a dozen dietary supplements to USADA, none of which came back contaminated.
Earlier this year, Jones would have his MMA license revoked by the California State Athletic Commision and fined $205,000. CSAC executive officer Andy Foster said at the hearing that the commission would honor Jones’ suspension in the USADA case.
“As announced by USADA today, an independent arbitrator determined that Jon Jones should receive a 15-month sanction for his second violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy,” CSAC executive officer Andy Foster said in a statement. “Although the Commission has not had the opportunity to review the decision at this time, the Commission is agreeable, in concept, to the 15-month sanction time period. In order to have his license reinstated, Mr. Jones will be ordered to complete three months of community service, pay the previously ordered $205,000 fine, and finish out the remainder of the 15-month sanction.”
Per the arbitration agreement, Jones has entered a full-time rehabilitation program “to regain a level of health and independence even if it meant prolonging resolution of his second anti-doping rule violation.” McLaren found Jones to be “very credible” and “well meaning” during the arbitration process.
“Jon Jones has gone through a great deal of difficulties,” McLaren wrote in his decision. “He gave me the very distinct impression that he has learned a lot from the loss of the image of himself that he had as a champion MMA fighter. He has been humbled and humiliated by the experience but has learned from his misfortune. He needs the opportunity to regain his dignity and self-esteem.”
Initial Report: MMA Fighting