Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has had a tumultuous 20 months outside of the octagon, from a hit-and-run incident to suspected drag racing to failed drugs tests.
Widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter of recent times, in April of last year he was stripped of his lightweight title and suspended following his arrest for felony hit-and-run.
Having been reinstated in October of last year, Jones was due to face new champion and long time foe Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 in March for the lightweight strap. However, days before his hotly anticipated return to action, the Rochester, NY native was found to have failed a drug test and was once again suspended.
Now, six month later, the 29-year-old continues to fight his case for reinstatement and has just received a significant boost from the most unlikeliest of sources. USADA, the United States Anti-Doping Agency, has, according to Jones’ lawyer Howard Jacobs, confirmed that the supplement Jones had been taking was ‘tainted’, therefore adding weight to his assertions of innocence.
…substances, meaning the entire crop of them is contaminated.
— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) October 21, 2016
According to Luke Thomas of SB Nation and reported by MMAMania, USADA’s findings might well see the impending two-year ban facing Jones, reduced to six months. There is precedent for this as following UFC 194 last December, Yoel Romero also failed a drugs test for what was later confirmed as a contaminated dietary supplement. Romero subsequently escaped the two-year ban and was free to fight again after six months.
Should USADA and the Nevada Athletic Commission look favourably on Jones’ situation, he could be in line for a return to the octagon as early as January 2017 – something some MMA fans will be more than happy to see.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena