An ‘atypical finding’ in a Jon Jones drug test has forced the promotion to move UFC 232 from Las Vegas to Southern California.
Earlier this month a drug test revealed a trace amount of Chlorodehydromethyltestosterone (DHCMT), or turinabol, in Jones’ system. Unfortunately, that was the same substance “Bones” tested positive for in 2017. That failed test ultimetly led to the 15-month suspension Jones was recently cleared from in order to fight next weekend.
In a preemptive strike so to speak, the UFC has decided to move the entire PPV next weekend to The Forum in Inglewood, Calif, UFC President Dana White today told MMAjunkie in Las Vegas.
The primary reason for the uprooting is simple, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) does not have the
On the other hand, the California State Athletic Commission will approve a license for “Bones” to fight Alexander Gustafsson.
The VP of Athlete Health and Performance for the UFC Jeff Novitzky said Jones’ positive test is not a violation. His reasoning, Novitzky said USADA, in consultation with other organizations, believes the test is a “pulsing” effect and not
Novitzky went on to described the
“A picogram is a one-trillionth of a gram,” Novitzky said. “If you put one grain of salt on the table and split it up into 50 million pieces, a picogram is one of those pieces of that gram of salt. These levels have shown up in the single and double digits of picograms – so such a small amount.”
The NSAC issued a statement (courtesy of MMAJunkie.com) saying it has allowed Jones to withdraw his fight license application in Nevada so he can fight in California. Jones must now appear in front of the commission in January.
“Today, Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Bob Bennett announced that, in consultation with NSAC Commission Chair Anthony Marnell III, unarmed combatant Jon Jones will be allowed to withdraw his pending application for licensure, which was intended to clear him to fight in a major contest in Nevada later this month,” the statement reads.
“After extensive analysis of Mr. Jones’ prior 18 months of USADA in- and out-of-competition anti-doping drug testing results, Director Bennett, Chair Marnell and Mr. Jones agree that he will appear at an evidentiary hearing in January. This will allow for a measured, thoughtful and comprehensive discussion of his anti-doping testing protocol and results and provide an opportunity for the NSAC to determind the appproriate path forward for him in Nevada. We look forward to this hearing.”
Muddying the waters even further, Novitzky said that Jones is not currently in violation of USADA’s drug-testing program as a result of this test result.
“There’s been no violation of the anti-doping program,” Novitzky said. “He’s been cleared to fight in terms of the USADA program. … USADA fully analyzed it internally. They reached out to outside experts from around the world. They reached out to another sports league that has seen the same issue. And all of them, independent of us, determined that this was not a reingestion of the substance and this very, very small amount that was occurring and still showing up, according to these expects from around the world, did not provide any performance-enhancing benefit.
“Not much is known about this longterm metabolite. The parent compound is not approved for human use anywhere in the world … but what both USADA and other entities are seeing is that a recurrence, or potential ‘pulsing,’ where you have multiple negative tests and then a positive one for a very low amount – they’re seeing that quite commonly over time. And no one knows how long this could last – it could potentially last forever (in Jones’ system).”
Dana’s White’s Views
Dana White has been one of Jones most outspoken detractors. However, the UFC President has come to his fighters defense in this instance, assuring the fans that Jones has done everything right heading into UFC 232.
“I haven’t heard anything negative about Jon Jones leading up to this fight – nothing,” White said. “He was willing to jump on a plane yesterday and go take a drug test – like, immediately. If I want to plan a PR for Jon Jones in two months, try pulling that together. It’s tough to get Jon Jones. He’s willing to do anything. So, I believe that Jon Jones is clean. He’s in fight shape, and I believe that he’s been doing the right thing.”
Novitzky knew the decison to relocate the event would not be without its critisisms. But he insists the move was not soley based on the ‘Jon Jones factor.’
“This is an exact reason why we have our program independently administered,” Novitzky said. “I could completely understand if this was a UFC decision, skepticism about, ‘Hey, why is this being done?’ But we are not involved in the decision and the determination that Jon didn’t do anything wrong. I’m only basing that – Dana is only basing that, (UFC general counsel) Hunter (Campbell) is only basing that – on these letters and statements that we’re getting from the world experts that have studied this now for several months. Timing is not great, but this is as above board as you can get.”
“We wouldn’t do it,” White said. “We’d pull the fight, and the (Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes title fight) would be the main event and the fight would roll. That’s it. We’d roll on. Jones would either go away forever, or – you know how I am … If these guys even doubted that something bad happened here and he was wrong or whatever, the fight’s off. We’d pull the fight. Jones didn’t do anything wrong here. All the biggest experts, the smartest people in the world that deal with this are saying that he did not cheat, he didn’t do anything. So how do we not do this fight?”
Tickets for the new venue for UFC 232 will go on sale this Wednesday according to White. Those fans who had tickets for the show in Las Vegas are available to be refunded.
White said the expected gate at T-Mobile Arena was in the $6 million range. He expects The Forum’s gate to be in the $1 million range. That’s a net loss of $5 million.
The Jon Jones saga continues.