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Lingering steroid metabolite resurfaces in Jon Jones’ UFC 232 VADA drug test

UFC 232 Jones v Gustafsson 2 Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

As a stipulation for allowing Jon Jones to compete at UFC 232 in Los Angeles, Calif., last month, “Bones” had to agree to Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) testing; something he declined a few weeks prior. Indeed, the pay-per-view (PPV) event was moved from “Sin City” to the City of Angels after Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) refused to license “Bones” after traces of banned metabolitea picogram, if you will — were found in Jones’ system through drug tests conducted by United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA).

Still, the experts and scientist maintained that Jones — who defeated Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 — did not re-ingest any banned substance, but rather it was the same one he was originally popped for at UFC 214 more than one year ago. Somehow, someway, it was still lingering in his body and will continue to do so for some time.

Case in point, MMA Fighting’s Marc Raimondi reveals that VADA did, in fact, test Jones on weigh-in day (Dec. 28, 2018), which produced a positive result of the same steroid metabolite.

From the report:

Jones had 33 picograms of 4-chloro-18-nor-17β-hydroxymethyl,17α-methyl-5α-androst-13-en-3α-ol (M3) (or DHMCT) in his system, per the commission. The urine sample was collected from him on the day of weigh-ins, Dec. 28.

Tests conducted by California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) and USADA prior and after, however, came back clean. Because it’s the same banned substance that has been in his system for over a year, CSAC will not punish “Bones” again because he’s already served his 15-month suspension for the original failed drug test.

Furthermore, CSAC executive officer Andy Foster says after speaking with scientists at Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory (SMRTL), there is still no evidence that Jones re-ingested the metabolite.

“I spoke with the scientists,” Foster said. “They stand by their original statement. Nothing has changed. We’ve already punished Jon Jones for the M3 metabolite, which is a long-term metabolite. There’s no grounds to charge somebody twice for the same violation.”

According to the report, UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, Jeff Novitzky, says experts have informed him that it could very well be possible that exercise and weight cutting can trigger a positive result, and the substance could show up in Jones’ system during those times.

“Science-wise, it does make some sense,” Novitzky said. “Once again, there was no parent compound and none of the short- or medium-term metabolites, which tend to stick around for three or weeks. So this is even more indicative that for whatever reason this long-term metabolite is just hanging around in these tissues and they get expressed when you’re going through weight loss.”

That said, Novitzky says Jones won’t be getting a free pass every time this occurs, claiming the commissions will look at each case in detail to ensure that “Bones” isn’t ingesting anything illegal.

Jones is scheduled to defend his Light Heavyweight title against Anthony Smith at the upcoming UFC 235 pay-per-view (PPV) event on March 2, 2019, in Las Vegas ... pending NSAC’s approval, of course.

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