Prior to his July rematch with Jon Jones, then UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier told Ariel Helwani that he believed Jones had taken performance enhancing drugs before their first fight – a January 2015 contest which ‘Bones’ won via unanimous decision after five rounds.
On Monday, just a little over a week after it was announced that Jones had failed a drug test during an in-competition phase close to the rematch and after reports suggested that the 31-year-old had tested positive for the anabolic steroid Turinabol, Cormier once again spoke with Helwani.
During an appearance on Helwani’s popular weekly show, The MMA Hour, ‘DC’ refrained from making a similarly accusatory claim, appreciating that it would be inappropriate to do so while Jones awaits his fate. He did, however, say that things look very bad for his most famous foe.
“I’ve been in the USADA testing pool since 2001. That was when I first started to get tested by USADA, my first U.S. national team,” Cormier said.
“There wasn’t USADA when I first started MMA, but 2001 to ‘09, and then … USADA got [to the UFC] in ’15, so it’s been about nine years that I’ve been in this program. And all of this time that I was in the USADA program, I was actually taking supplements, and I never actually had anything like that happen. So I just don’t understand how something like that could happen, especially back-to-back.
“And I really want to be careful with how I answer these questions, because Jon is entitled to the process of what’s going to happen with his other tests. But I think in the last case, they said he was reckless, so they gave him a year (suspension). How could you be reckless again going into another fight? It’s so odd. So for me, it’s very concerning, because it seems as though in the last two fights that him and I were supposed to fight, that something like that happens. And I don’t want to be sour grapes. That’s why it’s hard to answer the question — he won the fight. But it just makes it very odd.
“My whole issue is just, I don’t understand how in these situations you could put yourself in — he’s in trouble, man. I mean, I’ve got to be honest with you, I think he’s in a ton of trouble now based of this thing coming back positive at all. And again, I’ve been in this program for a long time(Transcription via MMAFighting).”
The last case to which Cormier refers occurred, of course, prior to UFC 200 last July. Jones was supposed to challenge Cormier for the light-heavyweight belt in the main event of the promotion’s biggest event of the year but was pulled from the card on just a few days notice after being flagged by the United States Anti-Doping Agency(USADA) for an anti-doping violation. Jones had tested positive for two oestrogen-blockers but claimed that he had been the victim of a tainted pill, one used for the enhancement of sexual performance. USADA later confirmed that the pill in question was tainted but Jones was still handed the maximum suspension of one-year by an independent arbitration panel because he had taken few precautions to protect himself and had carried out little research on what he was taking.
“His degree of fault in fact verged on the reckless,” stated the panel’s report.
The Cormier rematch was Jones’s first fight back after the conclusion of that suspension. After a build-up filled with vitriol and teeming with tension, Jones regained the UFC light-heavyweight title he never lost in the octagon by drilling Jones with a head kick and forcing the referee’s intervention with a subsequent hail of strikes.
Despite all that has gone on between the two over the years, despite the fact that Jones was potentially on a performance-enhancing drug when inflicting upon Cormier the most devastating loss of his career, knocking him out in sickening fashion and causing him some worrying memory loss, ‘DC’ said that he found Jones’s situation somewhat sad.
“I think he’s in a lot of trouble, and that’s sad, because the guy is very talented,” said the classy fighter.
“You know what’s sad? I really don’t believe he ever needed to do anything wrong. And you see a lot of people just flat-out saying he cheated. I’ve seen Chael (Sonnen) and I’ve seen a lot guys, and obviously they’re not in the position that I’m in in regards to him and our fight, but he really didn’t need to do any of that stuff. And I think if he was doing that as long as I was saying he was doing it, I think it became just a comfort thing. That’s probably why he did it again. It sucks.”