Only a few days after defending his Light heavyweight belt against Daniel Cormier at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, it has been confirmed that the best pound for pound fighter on the plant Jon ‘bones’ Jones has tested positive for cocaine. The results of a random drug test carried out by the Nevada Athletic Commission showed traces of benzoylecgonine, which is the main metabolite in cocaine. However, Jones was still able to fight as the World Anti-Doping Agency code suggests benzoylecgonine is not a banned substance out of competition. The commission carried out a follow-up test later in December that Jones passed.
The UFC released the following statement:
“We support UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ decision to enter a drug treatment facility to address his recent issue. While we are disappointed in the failed test, we applaud him for making this decision to enter a drug treatment facility. Jon is a strong, courageous fighter inside the Octagon, and we expect him to fight this issue with the same poise and diligence. We commend him on his decision, and look forward to him emerging from this program a better man as a result.”
UFC President Dana White also commented:
“I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility. I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.”
For me, the UFC’s stance on this scenario is overly supportive, and contradictory. Jon Jones is arguably their most recognisable champion and someone that they know kids will look up to. Jon is a role model and has now abused that responsibility by being caught taking illegal substances. It is of course commendable that Jones is seeking professional help to overcome his apparent drug problem but it is disappointing that the UFC are taking this public stance. It was only 2012 when Dana went on record to say that he was “beyond disappointed” that Nick Diaz tested positive for marijuana. They also cut Matthew Riddle for testing positive for marijuana.
For me, the UFC should have said more on the subject of drug misuse being totally unacceptable and especially by UFC standards. Moreover, issuing a fine would send a further message to the rest of the roster. But as things stand it almost seems like their golden boy Jones has done little wrong.
Despite the disappointment of a title loss to his bitter rival Jones no doubt still being raw, Daniel Cormier said:
“I am aware of Jon’s test, and if there is anything to say it is this: there are a lot of people you impact, so please let’s get it together. Good luck on your rehab!”
A classy response indeed from DC, he could have said something very different.