USADA: Jon Jones could receive longer suspension if he doesn’t keep providing “credible substantial assistance”

Jon Jones

For his July, 2017 failed drug test, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones received a 15-month suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, retroactive to the time of his failed test. This means he’ll be allowed to fight again by the end of October.

Given that this was Jones’ second USADA infraction, this 15 month term strikes as a fairly short period. The reason for this shortened suspension, however, is that Jon Jones provided significant and useful information to USADA.

In the opinions of many fans, that seems to imply he snitched.

Speaking on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, Jon Jones’ manager Malki Kawa assured this isn’t the case. He assures that Jones didn’t give USADA any information about other fighters, but instead only offered up information that made his own case easier to work through.

“I can just tell you without a shadow of a doubt that Jon did not tell on any teammate,” Kawa said (transcript via MMAjunkie). “Jon did not tell on anyone in MMA. Jon did not do anything that these people are saying he did. So all that, ‘He’s a snitch’ and all that stuff, we can put it to bed. He did not do that.

“There’s other things that took place in here. There’s other things that Jon did with himself. There’s things that USADA – and the arbitrator and everyone involved – got from Jon about Jon that they had never had before.”

In a statement to MMAjunkie, USADA spokesperson Danielle Eurich responded to these comments from Jon Jones’ manager. While she didn’t say outright whether Jones told on his teammates or not, she did drop another interesting detail.

Rule 10.6.1.1, the rule that allowed Jones’ suspension to reduced based on his cooperation, states that he must continue to cooperate with USADA. In other words, he must continue to provide them with information — whether its about himself, as Kawa claims, or other fighters, as some fans believe. If he fails to do so, his shortened suspension can apparently be nixed, in which case he’d receive a much longer suspension without a reduction.

“Importantly, if the athlete or support personnel fails to continue to cooperate and provide credible substantial assistance, USADA will reinstate the original sanction,” Eurich said. “These rules set out in 10.6.1.1 are crystal clear, and if they are not met, an individual would not be considered for a reduction based on substantial assistance.”

What do you make of the nebulous situation between Jon Jones and USADA?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/25/2018.