Jones Faces Multiple-Year Suspension
Jon “Bones” Jones looked to be getting back on track following a year-plus-long absence due to his actions in an Alburqurqe, New Mexico hit-and-run incident in April of 2015, even after later driving infractions technically violated his probation.
Jones returned to competition at UFC 197 to become the world leader in MMA’s interim champion at 205 pounds, setting up a later showdown with bitter rival and current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at last July’s UFC 200 pay-per-view event. The troubled star was then pulled from the main event after failing a drug test that showed the presence of multiple estrogen blockers, common for an individual coming off a steroid cycle.
Jones and those around him maintained that he did not knowingly take performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) but rather a tainted sexual supplement. While he may be steroid free, when the New Yorker appeared for a hearing with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) they described his lack of precaution as “reckless”, giving him a one-year suspension retroactive to July 6.
This means that Jones has roughly seven months left to serve, but he also faces a separate hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC). MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani said on The MMA Hour that Jones could face a ban of up to two years and a fine. Shortly after the USADA suspension was announced, he was the stripped of his interim championship.
UFC President Dana White said on an ESPN podcast, “It doesn’t make sense.” “He was the interim champion because he should have been fighting for the title (at UFC 197). We gave him this, ‘You were supposed to fight for the title, here it is.’ “It doesn’t make sense with all the stuff that is going on for him to still be the interim champion.”
He later told Sirius XM radio host Jim Rome about Jones being a pay-per-view headliner, “In my opinion, I would never take the risk of headlining a show with Jon Jones again. I’d put him on the card, but I wouldn’t headline with him until he consistently gets back on track. Millions of dollars are spent on this. For a card to fall apart, and how many cards have fallen apart because Jon Jones gets in trouble for something? So no, I’m not at that place with him.”