News broke on Monday that former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was given a one-year suspension term by USADA following an arbitration hearing.
Jones was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation in July, which resulted in him being pulled from the UFC 200 light heavyweight title fight against champion Daniel Cormier. It was later revealed that Jones tested positive for the banned substances clomiphene and letrozole.
Following the news of Jones’ one-year suspension, the former champion gave a statement to ESPN.
“Although I was hopeful for a better outcome in the USADA ruling today I am very respectful of the process in which they allowed me to defend myself,” Jones said in the statement to ESPN. “I have always maintained my innocence and I am very happy I have been cleared in any wrongdoing pursuant to the allegations made that I had intentionally taken a banned substance. I am pleased that in USADA’s investigation they determined I was ‘not a cheater of the sport.’
“Being cleared of these allegations was very important to me. I have worked hard in and outside of the octagon to regain my image and my fighting career and will take these next eight months to continue my training and personal growth both as a man and a athlete. Thank you to all of my fans, teammates, coaches, sponsors and to the UFC for their continued support.”
It should be noted that the arbitration panel ackowledged that Jones was not found to be a cheater but failed to do enough research on a sexual enhancement pill before ingesting it.
“On the evidence before the Panel, [Jones] is not a drug cheat,” the panel said in the report from ESPN. “He did not know that the tablet he took contained prohibited substances or that those substances had the capacity to enhance sporting performance.
“However, by his imprudent use of what he pungently referred to as a ‘d— pill,’ he has not only lost a year of his career but an estimated nine million dollars.”
Jones believed the pill he took from teammate Eric Blasich was Cialis, but later found out it was another brand of the sexual enhancement pill. USADA tested the form of sexual enhancement pill that Jones took and confirmed that it was contaminated.
Jones still faces possible sanctions from the Nevada State Athletic Commission. A date for the hearing has not yet been announced.