The curious case of Jon Jones and his tainted samples has come back with a bit of a win for the embattled former champion.
An arbitrator issued a 15-month sentence to light heavyweight star Jon Jones in his U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) case according to multiple media outlets. The suspension is retroactive to July 28, 2017, so the ruling allows Jones to return to the Octagon as early as Oct. 28th, 2018.
Here’s the full USADA announcement. Jones quietly went to arbitration last week, and in my opinion, he came away with a big victory.
“The independent arbitrator found that Jon Jones was not intentionally cheating in this case, and while we thought 18 months was the appropriate sanction given the other circumstances of the case, we respect the arbitrator’s decision and believe that justice was served,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said in the statement.
It’s difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation. I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch of my life. It has meant the world to me and always will. But now is the time to shift the focus front and center to the road ahead. Greatness is what I’m chasing and the path to reclaiming my throne is now officially open. Comeback Season begins now
1,869 Likes, 2 Comments – Jon Bones Jones (@jonnybones) on Instagram: “It’s difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with…”
“Its difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation,” Jones said. ” I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch of my life. It has meant the world to me and always will.”
UFC 230 is scheduled for Nov. 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, but it’s unclear whether the UFC will add Jones to that card or wait for a later date like the end of the year barnburner between Amanda Nunes and Cris “Cyborg Santos.
Jones last fought in July 2017, knocking out Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 214. The bout was subsequently ruled a no-contest after USADA flagged a drug sample from Jones that was collected during a pre-fight weigh-in.
USADA confirmed in September 2017 that both Jones’ “A” and “B” samples had tested positive for Turinabol, a banned substance. That same month, UFC stripped him of the light heavyweight championship and named Cormier the champion.
While the arbitrator had yet to hand down it’s official ruling, the California State Athletic Commission revoked Jones’ mixed martial arts license in February, all but effectively putting his career on hold.
Because he had run afoul of USADA’s rules before when cocaine metabolites were in his system, Jones faced a suspension of up to four years, which could have seriously derailed the 31-year-old career. The question now is, how much does the UFC care after Dana White publicly stated that he felt Jones was a waste of talent.
Only UFC matchmaker, Sean Shelby knows and if the box office and pay-per-view reflect Jones’ earlier successes then it is a certainty that all will be forgiven. Just ask Conor McGregor.