UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was relicensed by the NSAC this week after a lengthy hearing about his latest drug testing controversy. “Bones” had tested positive for a minute amount (picograms, to be exact) of a long-term metabolite of oral steroid
That forced the pay-per-view event to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles as a result. Nevada decided they needed more time to figure things out, and they took that time on Tuesday. Jones was relicensed but subject to year-round drug testing from Nevada. That is the third drug testing agency to test Jones in 2019 due to his repeated performance-enhancing drug issues.
But Jones still maintains he’s innocent. He’ll make his first title defense against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2. At today’s UFC 235 press conference, Jones reacted to the hearing. He made it a point to clarify that the ‘picograms’ had no performance-enhancing benefits:
“Very excited for UFC 235. But I am exited that the whole thing’s over. It was a four-hour hearing. I learned a lot about what’s happening in my body. It’s good to know I’m not the only athlete going through this. Definitely the highest-profile case in the country right now.
“You know, the biggest thing, and I wanna drive this home every time, these picograms give me no performance-enhancing benefits. I have USADA, VADA, and Nevada, all three drug testing me for the remainder of this year, which is, that’s a lot of needles. But I have no problem being in this position. I think, through all this testing I’ll be vindicated and we’ll all be educated. So, it will be great.”
Jones continued on that testing clean for all three agencies this year would finally clear his name as it concerned to PED use. He claimed to be grateful for everything to become transparent. Nevada licensing him also proved he was innocent in his eyes:
“Yeah, absolutely, absolutely. I think, you know, me opening myself to being tested by three different agencies, it shows that I have nothing to hide. USADA, VADA, they’ve been around for so long. They’ve worked with so many extremely successful athletes. G
“I feel like them giving me my license shows that I am innocent and this doesn’t help my performance at all. I’m just grateful. I’m grateful for everything to be out in the open and accessible for everybody to see.”
There’s no denying Jones is the most tested fighter in mixed martial arts history at this point. No one has been tested by three entities at the same time like he is being right now. A full year of negative results would go a long way toward clearing Jones’ name.
But as we’ve seen with ‘Bones,’ you never know what’s going to happen. It’s shaping up to be a wild year for the UFC light heavyweight division.