Leave it up to Jon Jones to be a distraction ahead of a monster Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view (PPV) event. "Bones" did it just several days before UFC 200 over the summer, getting yanked from his main event against Daniel Cormier because United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) found traces of unapproved "dick pills" coursing through his veins. And he has struck again this week just days before UFC 205 storms Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Jones is no cheater, though, just the most talented mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter ever who can't seem to stay out of his own way. The former Light Heavyweight champion was today once again forced into the shadows after arbitrators from McLaren Global Sports Solutions decided a one-year ban from the sport was a fair punishment for his latest screw up. That would be devastating to most fighters, but not Jones, who reportedly will lose an estimated $9 million (not $30 million) as a result of his latest case.
Indeed, his image and personal growth are what's important during these trying times. Jones issued the following statement on USADA's decision (via MMAFighting.com) earlier today:
"Although I was hopeful for a better outcome in the USADA ruling today, I am very respectful of the process in which they allowed me to defend myself. I have always maintained my innocence and I am very happy I have been cleared in any wrong doing pursuant to the allegations made that I had intentionally taken a banned substance. I am pleased that in USADA's investigation they determined I was "not a cheater of the sport." Being cleared of these allegations was very important to me. I have worked hard in and outside of the octagon to regain my image and my fighting career and will take these next eight months to continue my training and personal growth both as a man and a athlete. Thank you to all of my fans, teammates, coaches, sponsors and to the UFC for their continued support."
Jones’ suspension will end on July 6, 2017, which is one year from his initial positive test. However, he still must appear before Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), which could pile on with additional time or, at the very least -- and most likely -- levy a hefty fine and order even more community service. UFC issued a statement shortly after USADA announced its decision, but it was more of a cautionary tale than anything else. It made no mention of the status of his interim 205-pound title, which he seemingly still holds despite this entire fiasco.