Former UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones will soon go before the California State Athletic Commission to answer to an alleged steroid offense at UFC 214.
According to a CSAC agenda posted on its website, Jones’ hearing will take place on Feb. 27 in Anaheim, Calif. The hearing venue, a DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Anaheim Resort, sits a stone’s throw from Disneyland.
The hearing promises at least some resolution to the disciplinary cloud hanging over Jones’ (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC) head since the UFC’s anti-doping partner, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, announced he’d failed an in-competition drug test, coming up positive for the steroid turinabol. Jones has denied that he knowingly took the banned substance, and his attorney looked forward to appealing the decision with USADA.
Jones’ case with the anti-doping agency is still pending. He faces a potential four-year suspension for his second anti-doping offense under the UFC’s anti-doping program; he failed a pre-fight drug test prior to a title unifier at UFC 200 for two banned substances and received a one-year suspension. His longtime manager, Malki Kawa, confidently predicted Jones would fight again before the end of this year. CSAC, meanwhile, is moving forward with its case, which is independent of USADA as the regulator of record for the July 29 pay-per-view event in Anaheim.
CSAC temporarily suspended Jones and overturned his title-winning knockout of Daniel Cormier (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) to a no-contest when his B sample confirmed an initial positive for the banned steroid turinabol. Jones was subsequently stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title and Cormier was reinstated as champ.
Jones and his legal team will have a chance to answer for the alleged steroid violation, which typically carries a one-year suspension and $2,500 fine. The team’s answer could provide a preview as to Jones’ strategy in explaining how the banned substance – an drug atypical in current anti-doping cases – got into his system on the night of the fight. The commission could modify the punishment levied against Jones if swayed by the testimony.
In an effort to clear his name and prove he didn’t knowingly take turabinol, Jones reportedly took and passed a polygraph test. The two-time champ also received support from UFC anti-doping czar Jeff Novitzky, who opined the fighter’s failure didn’t indicate intentional use.
Cormier (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC), who recently defended the title he got back, is unconvinced by Jones’ recent efforts to clear his name and is moving on with his career. In July, he will attempt to add another belt to his collection when he challenges for the heavyweight title against current champ Stipe Miocic (18-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC).
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
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