ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If he had a do-over, Jon Jones would find out everything before taking a sexual performance drug that caused him to have a tainted drug test.
Monday, the USADA announced that the UFC Interim Light Heavyweight champ will serve a one year suspension. The punishment was upheld by a three member arbitration panel who also confirmed that Jones was not a cheat and that he did take a sexual performance drug that tainted his test.
Part of the panel’s statement was, “on the evidence before the Panel, the Applicant is not a drug cheat. He did not know that the tablet he took contained prohibited substances or that those substances had the capacity to enhance sporting performance.”
That probably made taking the news of the suspension a little easier to swallow for Jones, who also released a statement through a spokesperson:
Although I was hopeful for a better outcome in the USADA ruling today, I am very respectful of the process in which they allowed me to defend myself. I have always maintained my innocence and I am very happy I have been cleared in any wrong doing pursuant to the allegations made that I had intentionally taken a banned substance. I am pleased that in USADA’s investigation they determined I was ‘not a cheater of the sport.’ Being cleared of these allegations was very important to me. I have worked hard in and outside of the octagon to regain my image and my fighting career and will take these next eight months to continue my training and personal growth both as a man and a athlete. Thank you to all of my fans, teammates, coaches, sponsors and to the UFC for their continued support.
Brushes with the law has also led to Jones missing time in the octagon. One report estimated that he will miss about $9 million in earnings.
Just by finding out and reporting everything in his system, Jones could have avoided the one year suspension.
UFC welterweight Tim Means, who also fights out of Albuquerque, served only a six month suspension. That was because he did report everything he had taken. The supplement he tested positive for was not on the warning label.
Means had no way of knowing he ingested something that would give him a bad test.
Means said, “It did come up in the arbitration hearing that it was very important to list the product right out the gate and show that I was making an effort to show that there was nothing banned in the product.”
The one year suspension for Jones is retroactive to when it was first discovered in July. That means he will be eligible to return to competition in July of 2017.