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Jon Jones NSAC hearing: When it’s happening, why it’s important

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Interim UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones Press Conference Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, is scheduled to appear before Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) on Tues., Jan. 29, 2019, to explain why trace amounts of Turinabol are still turning up in urine tests more than a year after he was suspended for performance-enhancing drugs.

Expect to hear words like “picograms” and explanations about salt.

In fact, there won’t be much new information provided when “Bones” and Co. take the floor. This is more about the commission deciding if expert testimony (from this “sellout”) is convincing enough to license the pound-for-pound great in Las Vegas.

And the sooner we figure that out, the better, because Jones is expected to defend his 205-pound title against top light heavyweight contender, Anthony Smith, in the UFC 235 pay-per-view (PPV) headliner in March.

He was already stymied once before, ahead of the UFC 232 event that was packed up and shipped out to California when United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed NSAC that Jones was being flagged in multiple pre-fight drug tests.

In many ways, this hearing could set a precedent. If Jones continues to test positive for picograms of Turinabol in what is being described as a “pulsing effect” — and is licensed anyway — how will that change the way future drug-testing cases are handled?

Working in Jones’ favor is the fact that his tests are inconsistent and barely register when positive. Working against him is the shady way in which the promotion — and Jones — have handled this from the jump, especially since they knew about this last September.

I’m sure that will be one of many questions asked by NSAC and how those questions are answered will matter down the line, when other athletes find themselves in similar situations. I have a few questions of my own, not that anyone who matters really gives a shit.

I’ll ask anyway.

California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), before allowing Jones to compete at UFC 232 in Inglewood, sent him for an emergency drug test. Of all the drug-testing facilities in California, Jones was flown to KorvaLabs in San Dimas, which is not accredited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

The CEO of KorvaLabs is Paul Scott. Yes, the same Paul Scott who was hired by the Jones team and paid $395 per hour to testify on behalf of “Bones” at the CSAC revocation hearing back in early 2018.

There’s a WADA lab about 10 miles from The Forum, where UFC 232 was held on Dec. 29. When I tried to ask CSAC Executive Director, Andy Foster, to help me understand why Jones was able to take his drug test at KorvaLabs, where a previous financial relationship exists, he simply ignored me.

Hopefully the folks at NSAC have better luck.