More than one year after failing his second United States Anti Doping (USADA)-administered drug test following his Light Heavyweight title fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 214, Jon Jones has finally been handed his sentence.
According to a report from MMA Fighting, “Bones” was handed a 15-month suspension by an arbitrator, and since the punishment is retroactive to July 28, 2017 — date of the transgression — the former 205-pound champion will be eligible to return as soon as Oct. 28, 2018.
Per the report, Jones was facing a four-year ban as a second-time offender, but since he continued to pass out-of-competition drug tests and cooperated with USADA’s every request, it was reduced to 15 months by the arbitrator, which was a further reduction for a discussed 30-month penalty.
As part of his punishment, “Bones” will enter into a full rehabilitation program.
“Jon Jones has gone through a great deal of difficulties,” said arbitrator Richard H. McLaren. “He gave me the very distinct impression that he has learned a lot from the loss of the image of himself that he had as a champion MMA fighter. He has been humbled and humiliated by the experience but has learned from his misfortune. He needs the opportunity to regain his dignity and self-esteem.”
Through it all, Jones maintained his innocence, though it fell on deaf ears when it came to California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), as the governing athletic body yanked his license to compete in “The Golden State” and fined him a whopping $205,000.
Indeed, Jones’ troubles with prohibited drugs are well-documented, but it seems the former UFC poster boy is perhaps finally determined to turn his life, and career, around. Interestingly enough, Jones recently visited the UFC headquarters alongside his manager Malki Kawa, giving fight fans the impression that this big news was imminent.
It’s perhaps no coincidence that the upcoming UFC 230 pay-per-view (PPV) event on Nov. 3, 2018, in New York, N.Y, has yet to confirm a headlining act, and is in desperate need of a big name to spearhead the promotion’s return to Madison Square Garden.
“Bones” just happens to be from “The Empire State” and will now be eligible to compete at the blockbuster event. The timing of all of this could not be more perfect (wink, wink) as Conor McGregor and Co. will storm lower Manhattan tomorrow to promote UFC 229 inside Radio City Music Hall.
It’s a seemingly very well coordinated promotional- and USADA-led attack.