After UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defeated Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 on Saturday night, Tuesday’s revelation that Jones had tested positive for cocaine in early December dropped like an atomic bomb on the mixed martial arts world.
Even UFC president Dana White, who has spent a lot of time around Jones over the past several years, says he was surprised when his champion tested positive for cocaine.
“I was shocked obviously. This is so different than if a guy gets busted for performance enhancing drugs, you worry about the person first,” said White on America’s Pregame on Wednesday night. “You forget about the fighting and the work side of it. You worry about Jon Jones the person.”
The firestorm swirling around the situation stems not only from the fact that Jones tested positive, but also in how the whole situation went down, particularly, why was the fight allowed to continue when both the athletic commission and the UFC knew about the result well before UFC 182.
“Number one, he was healthy. Number two, the reason you would stop the fight and the hammer would drop on the guy is if he tested positive for performance enhancing drugs,” White said about not pulling the plug.
“Jon Jones, he was contracted to fight. We have a contract with him and everybody thinks we can just say, ‘the fight is off.’”
But apparently, they can’t. At least that’s what White said on America’s Pregame when asked if it was a matter of Jones having the right to fight because of his contract and because the positive test wasn’t for a substance that might effect the outcome of the bout.
“You’re damn right he had the right to fight,” said White.
There was actually a mistake somewhere along the line for the athletic commission or the testing facility because substances of abuse are not considered banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency when it comes to out-of-competition testing and the Nevada Athletic Commission adheres to the WADA code. So Jones wasn’t even supposed to be tested for cocaine in the first place during his Dec. 4 random screening.
White, however, saw the accident as a positive, at least for Jones and his personal struggles.
“They made a mistake. The guys who come and do the random drug testing made a mistake,” said White. “Everything happens for a reason. It’s a great thing that this happened. It’s a great thing that this guy made a mistake.
“Who would’ve known? We would never know. (Now) we get him the help that he needs.
“We’re worried about Jon Jones, the human being, the person. We’re not worried about the image of the sport or any of that right now. The guy is a human being and he needs help. I applaud him and we support him.”