Those of you who bet Jon Jones would screw things up once again in the lead-up to his next fight, cash your wagers in now. The controversial former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion has spent more time on the bench than in the cage over a variety of drug test failures. And now once again, abnormal test results from Jones are causing UFC major headaches.
Indeed, UFC has announced it will take the unprecedented step to move UFC 232 on Dec. 29, 2018, from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Los Angeles, Calif., after a “leftover” metabolite of oral Turinabol was detected in a Jones sample earlier this month. While United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) determined it was from the same incident Jones had already been punished for, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) wasn’t willing to clear the fight to go ahead, hence the sudden venue change for the event.
According to a statement from NSAC, it will allow Jones to withdraw his application to fight in Nevada, setting up a meeting to discuss their “extensive analysis of Mr. Jones’ prior 18 months of USADA in- and out-of-competition anti-doping drug testing results.”
Statement from the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Jon Jones pic.twitter.com/ud7gfjgYNJ— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) December 23, 2018
This all seems to have been triggered by a statement from USADA released earlier this Sunday, which notified the Nevada commission of trace amounts of oral Turinabol that showed up in a test taken Dec. 9, 2018. According to USADA, the substance was “consistent with residual amounts from his prior exposure for which he was previously sanctioned.”
USADA Statement on Jon Jones Sample and UFC Anti-Doping Policy pic.twitter.com/TJfbJB5X9W— USADA (@usantidoping) December 23, 2018
So just to be clear: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson will go on at UFC 232. That show will just take place in California now where the commission seems much more willing to take USADA’s explanation at face value.
“We’ve got a statement from three difference scientists, from the [WADA-accredited] lab director [at SMRTL in Salt Lake City] saying there’s no evidence of any new ingestion,” CSAC head Andy Foster told MMA Fighting. “This isn’t a new thing. This is what he’s been punished for already. He’s already served his time on this.”
As always, UFC continues to entertain, if not always in the way you’d expect. We’ll keep you updated on all the details as this crazy and kinda shady sounding business shakes out.