Jon Jones Reinstated, But With Surprise Twist

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The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) reinstated Jon Jones at their meeting today. However, Jones’ return did not come without a last-minute request that has many scratching their heads.

Jones was reinstated after he agreed to pay a $205,000 fine and do a community outreach program. But the commission also asked him to undergo the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) program before his fight with Alexander Gustafsson at December 29’s UFC 232. 

The request appeared to be a surprise to Jones. He is, of course, being tested under the UFC’s anti-doping partnership with USADA. There is little if any official precedent of a fighter being tested by both at the same time. The commissioner who requested Jones do so said it would be at the expense of the CSAC. She asked that he enroll in VADA in the next few days.

A New Request

CSAC Executive Officer Andy Foster said it simply wasn’t that easy to write a check and enroll in VADA, however. There was a process to undergo, and due to the fact Jones is already being tested, he’s right. Still, Jones and his attorney Howard Jacobs apparently agreed in principle to the extra testing once they had reviewed the program.

There’s no denying that Jones has had repeated concerning issues with both performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. They’re the main thing holding him back from assuming his status as MMA’s greatest fighter of all-time. This time he was returning from a 15-month USADA suspension after testing positive before his last fight against Daniel Cormier.

But to ask him to start a brand-new drug testing program as a surprise twist during a reinstatement hearing is a new scenario.

Ultimately, Jones was granted his temporary license. He’ll be able to fight Gustafsson in Las Vegas in two weeks’ time. Regardless, the VADA request was a definitely out of left field in terms of usual state athletic commission business. It could be argued that the program would go far in proving Jones is truly clean. 

The saga of Jon Jones rolls on. Stay tuned.

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