Cheater exception: Jon Jones admires 'vulnerable' Chael Sonnen for responsible handling of failed drug test

USA TODAY Sports

While most people are bashing Chael Sonnen for the failed drug test that got him booted from UFC 175, Jon Jones has words of encouragement for "American Gangster," saying that admires him for being vulnerable and open about his personal issues.

Long-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Chael Sonnen hasn't had an easy past couple of weeks.

The former two-time No. 1 middleweight contender recently decided to retire from mixed martial arts (MMA) on the heels of a positive drug test prior to his proposed fight against Vitor Belfort at UFC 175, which was set to go down on July 5, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

And even though Sonnen won't likely face further punishment from the Nevada State Athletic (NSAC) commission -- at least for now -- he couldn't avoid the criticism he received from fans and fellow fighters alike. This, despite the fact that he chose not to hide -- or run -- opting to confront the issue head on.

But, "American Gangster" can hopefully find solace in knowing that one of his former colleagues and opponents, Jon Jones, has his back.

During a recent episode of The MMA Hour, "Bones" says that he doesn't care for "cheaters" and drug abusers, but he almost feels like giving Sonnen an exception for being so upfront about his transgression and owning up to it in front of the whole world to see.

Jones explains:

"I watched him on 'UFC Tonight' and I thought he handled it very responsibly. I really admire him being vulnerable and telling the world about his situation with his wife and things like that. I've been very vocal about not respecting steroid users and guys who cheat. But, Chael almost gained an exception with the way he handled it and the way he was just so honest and upfront with the fans and other fighters about the whole situation. So, it's never good for the sport to see something like this, but in a way it was a win for Chael because he got to let some things off his heart, off his chest and just be real with everybody. Man, I'm sure he has a sense of freedom because of it. I'm happy for him."

Of course, "American Gangster" is adamant he wasn't trying to bend and/or break the rules, explaining (listen to it) that the positive test is a result supplements (Clomiphene) he had to take in efforts to transition out of testosterone replacement therapy.

In fact, Sonnen hesitantly revealed that fertility issues was another reason for taking certain supplements.

After the two served as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17, Jones and Sonnen collided at UFC 159 in 2013, with "Bones" winning via first-round technical knockout (TKO) to retain his 205-pound title.

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