There’s been a massive amount of negative criticism about how the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) and the UFC handled Jon Jones’ failed drug test for cocaine in early December.
Most of it centered on the double standards created by Jones’ lack of punishment while lesser-known fighters are seemingly dealt harsh punishments for much lesser infractions.
And conveniently, a brand new case which to compare the hypocritical nature of the testing practices has already arisen. Women’s bantamweight Ashlee Evans-Smith tested positive for banned diuretics during her UFC 181 loss to Raquel Pennington.
Smith, who stepped in to replace touted newcomer Holly Holm on short notice, will appear in front of the NSAC to testify this Monday. From the sound of things, Smith’s camp is none too happy about it.
Her manager Mike McLeish spoke up with fervor to MMA Fighting, clarifying that Smith takes all natural supplements rather than the chemical-based substance she was flagged for:
“All her supplements are protein or flower- and plant-based. They said it wasn’t a plant-based one.”
This is hardly the first time we’ve heard a fighter’s camp cry foul over a so-called “supplement” discrepancy following a failed drug test, but McLeish chose to focus on the assertion that diuretics technically weren’t performance-enhancing despite their known usage for cutting weight and masking other PED use.
McLeish went to the well by understandably comparing Evans-Smiths situation to that of Jones:
“It’s not performance-enhancing or anything. I don’t understand why they’re talking about her doing diuretics, but Jon Jones did cocaine and nothing is happening to him. Cocaine is OK, because it’s out of competition? He was in training camp.”
McLeish has a good point in that while “bones” was not competing at the exact time that he was tested, he was indeed in a vigorous training camp for his win over Daniel Cormier at last Saturday’s (January 3, 2015) UFC 182 from Las Vegas.
While it could be a double standard, Evans-Smith tested positive for a banned substance and will have to pay the price like any other fighter in the same situation. Even though Jones’ test for street drugs was a mistake, however, it could be a positive in that it not only got him the help he needed (if he truly needed it), but also spearheading a movement for overarching change in the NSAC’s cloudy drug testing policies regarding MMA.
It’s definitely clear that some serious changes need to be enacted soon. Will the commission save face by eventually making the rules apply to everyone?
Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale for USA TODAY Sports