The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has given former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones the green light to return to competition as early as late October 2018. Jones’ return comes after USADA agreed to retroactively apply a 15-month suspension after Jones tested positive for the anabolic steroid Oral Turinabol. The suspension is much shorter than the four-year suspension that normally comes with a second anti-doping rules violation.
The decision is the latest reason that USADA has lost a lot of credibility within the fight community. USADA is getting paid a lot of money to administer the UFC’s anti-doping program. Consequently, USADA has a major conflict of interest in punishing the star athletes that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for the UFC.
UFC lightweight champion Khabib Murmagomedov believed the leniency of the USADA suspension was politically motivated.
“USADA give my friends 2 years. 2 years. Their first time,” Nurmagomedov told TMZ Sports. “Okay, what about Jon Jones? Second time problem and they give him one and half year!
“I think it’s very bad. They have to give him, like, a little bit more. But now I understand that USADA is number one bullshit… It’s a very bad decision for MMA…
“Hey Jon Jones is great fighter, you know. He’s very good fighter you know, but if you talk about rules, everybody has to follow rules.”
UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes called USADA’s lenient decision “arbitrary” and questioned why USADA “even exists[s]”.
“No shade to JJ but no one is surprised by this arbitrary decision,” Blaydes said. “USADA is steadily losing respect in the fight community to the point of questioning why they even exist.”
No shade to JJ but no one is surprised by this arbitrary decision , USADA is steadily losing respect in the fight community to the point of questioning why they even exist ? https://t.co/AhVmwBvBEr
— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) September 20, 2018
Daniel Cormier, the current UFC light-heavyweight and heavyweight champion, reacted to Jones’ contention that he never knowingly or intentionally used banned anabolic steroids or any other prohibited drug during an interview with UFC on Fox broadcast on September 19, 2018.
Cormier questioned “what’s the point” of USADA doing drug testing if they are so quick to believe Jones’ ridiculous excuses.
“Here’s the deal. When it comes to USADA, they can’t come to my house any more at 6am. They’ve been to my house 15 times enough. What’s the point? USADA: don’t come to my house anymore. Don’t come. I’m not going to fail.
“I’m not going to fail a test. I’m not going to make any mistakes. I’m not going to have to sit up there and say ‘I’m serious this time guys, I promised I wasn’t really trying to cheat’. It’s never going to happen to me.
“70 times. 70 times since I started wrestling internationally and I have never made a mistake. It’s not that hard. And to have to sit here and do this again shows that the guy is ridiculous.”
USADA revealed that it reduced Jones’ suspension by 30 months in exchange for the “substantial assistance” he provided in helping them stop steroid use in the UFC. Many observers interpreted this as an indication that Jones’ snitched on other steroid users in the UFC. Jones has disputed such interpretations.