Those darn picograms are at it again and UFC president of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky is here to spell it out for all us simple-minded fight fans.
In case you missed it, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has yet again tested positive for the same M3 metabolite that has been in his system for the past 19 months. It is the same “pulsing” metabolite that showed up in picogram quantities leading into Jones’ rematch with Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 this past December, which was a fight that was moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on a few days notice as a result of the test findings.
Now, leading into his title fight with Anthony Smith this weekend at UFC 235 in Las Vegas, Jones is still showing signs of the picograms-from-hell. Remember, Jones agreed to take an increased number of drug tests leading into UFC 235 as part of a deal with Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for a one-fight license.
Here’s the breakdown of Jones’ most recent tests:
Feb. 1: No adverse analytical findings (USADA)
Feb. 9: No adverse analytical findings (VADA Calif.)
Feb. 14: Adverse analytical finding: DHCMT M3 detected 40 pg/mL (NSAC)
Feb. 15: Adverse analytical finding: DHCMT M3 detected 20 pg/mL (NSAC)
Feb. 18: No adverse analytical findings (VADA Nev.)
Feb. 23: Results pending (USADA)
While the pulsing picograms were likely to show in Jones’ system here and there, the results are still a little off-putting. Luckily, Novitzky offered the following explanations earlier this week (shown above courtesy of MMA Fighting) to help alleviate any concern fight fans, or Smith, may have:
“Typically, a fighter is getting ready for a fight will gradually increase that intensity, peak, and then maybe a couple weeks out, taper off so they’re fresh for the fight. That was right in the heart of when Jon, what his camp has told me, was peaking in his training for this fight.”
“Based on the amount of testing he’s had over this last two months, these recent low-level positives are the best evidence I think we’ve seen of what these experts are telling us, and that is no re-administration of this substance, and no performance-enhancing benefit.”
“You have two very low-level picogram positives bookended by two negative tests within a week, week-and-a-half. If there was re-administration of this substance, you would clearly see the parent compound, you would see short- and mid-term metabolites, which science has shown would be in existence for several weeks. So while unfortunate for Jon, I think based on the level of testing, it’s the best evidence I’ve seen.”
Does this make you feel a little better about Jones’ situation?
While it’s always going to be difficult to prove that Jones is a clean fighter when these substances keep popping up in his system, fight fans are going to have to start believing the science at some point. After all, there have been zero signs of re-administration and zero signs of any physical advantage Jones might have come fight night.
In any case, picograms or no picograms, Jones will still have to defend his title against the surging “Lionheart” tomorrow night at UFC 235 as he tries to regain his stranglehold on the light heavyweight division.
For more UFC 235 fight card news click here.