Jon Jones tested positive for steroids before his UFC 214 title victory over Daniel Cormier and is expected to be stripped of his Light Heavyweight belt, TMZ reports.
In a statement, the mixed martial arts organization said the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) notified Tuesday, August 22, of the potential violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected after Jones weighed-in on July 28, a day before the UFC 214 bout:
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of the case involving Jones, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy,there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) also retains jurisdiction over this matter as the sample collection was performed the day before Jones’ bout at UFC 214 in Anaheim, CA, and USADA will work to ensure that the CSAC has the necessary information to determine its proper judgement of Jones’ potential anti-doping violation.
Jones tested positive for Turinabol, an anabolic steroid, after the July 29 fight, TMZ was first to report. . He knocked out Cormier, then the Light Heavyweight champion, with a head kick and then a series of punches.
Jones’ camp issued a statement to ESPN saying, “We are all at a complete loss for words right now. Jon, his trainers, his nutritionists and his entire camp have worked tirelessly and meticulously the past 12 months to avoid this exact situation. We are having the samples tested again to determine the validity or source of contamination. Jon is crushed by this news and we are doing whatever we can as a team to support him.”
Dana White confirmed the failed drug test to ESPNs Brett Okamoto, but said Jones has not been formally stripped of the belt. TMZ reported that Jones has been stripped of the title and it will go back to Cormier.
The title fight was held in Anaheim, California, and the California State Athletic Commission has jurisdiction over the matter. A spokesman also confirmed the positive test with MMA Fighting.
“The California State Athletic Commission has been made aware of Jon Jones’ test results and is looking into the matter,” CSAC executive officer Andy Foster told the MMA news website. “The Commission takes these matters very seriously and will take any appropriate actions necessary after a thorough review of the situation. As with all fighters, Mr. Jones is entitled to due process and the Commission will work with the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to get all of the proper information.”
This is the second time Jones has tested positive for using banned performance-enhancing drugs. The 30-year-old was scheduled for a bout with Cormier at UFC 200 in July 2016, but tested positive for two banned substances, clomiphene and letrozol, and was banned for one year. That failed test came just three days before the event, leading to him being pulled from the fight. According to TMZ, Jones could face up to a 4-year ban as a multiple-time offender. Testing positive for Turinabol carries up to a 2-year suspension from the USADA for first-time offenders, according to MMA Fighting.
If Jones is stripped of the title belt, it would be the third time the Light Heavyweight championship has been taken from him for an out-of-the-Octagon issue. Jones was stripped of the belt on April 28, 2015, after he was charged with a felony in Arizona following a hit-and-run incident. Jones also had the interim Light Heavyweight belt stripped from him after his first failed drug test in November 2016.