Jon Jones Suspended Following USADA Arbitration Hearing

November 7, 2016

UFC interim light heavyweight champion Jon Jones won’t be back in the Octagon any time soon after being issued a suspension following his recent U.S. Anti-Doping Agency arbitration hearing.

Jones attorney, Howard Jacobs, sounded optimistic after an hours-long evidentiary hearing on Oct. 31.

“I think that the evidence all came in and we’re happy with sort of how the case went and now we’re just gonna wait for the decision,” said Jacobs. “It’s out of our hands now.”

It’s unlikely that Jones and his camp are feeling as happy about how things went on Monday as USADA announced a one-year suspension.

Jon JonesUSADA announced that an independent three-member arbitration panel from McLaren Global Sports Solutions, Inc. (MGSS) determined that Jones should receive the maximum one-year period of ineligibility for his anti-doping policy violation.

Jones, 29, tested positive for the presence of two prohibited substances, clomiphene and letrozole, following an out-of-competition urine test on June 16, 2016.Clomiphene and letrozole are both Specified Substances in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators and are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, the standard sanction for a policy violation involving a Specified Substance is a one-year period of ineligibility.

Depending on the athlete’s degree of fault for the doping offense, the sanction for an anti-doping policy violation involving Specified Substances can range from a reprimand and no period of ineligibility, up to the standard one-year period of ineligibility. Here, the MGSS Panel, comprised entirely of specially trained arbitrators from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, concluded that Jones’ degree of fault was at the very top end of the scale.

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Jones’ one-year period of ineligibility began on July 6, 2016, the date of his provisional sanction. In addition, Jones has been disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to July 6, 2016, including forfeiture of any title, ranking, purse, or other compensation.

The decision of the arbitrator to recommend the one-year suspension pointed primarily to Jones’ negligence in being aware what he was putting in his system, which the UFC acknowledged in a statement it sent to regarding Jones’ suspension.

“UFC is aware of the one-year sanction levied against Jon Jones as a result of his UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation, decided by a three-person arbitration panel held on Monday, October 31, 2016. UFC has been advised that the one-year suspension commenced on Wednesday, July 6, 2016,” read the statement.

“While the decision indicates no evidence of Jones’ intentional use of banned substances, it does highlight the care and diligence that is required by athletes competing in the UFC to ensure that no prohibited substances enter their system.”

The suspension keeps Jones out of action until July 6, 2017. There was no word from UFC officials at the time of publication as to the status of Jones’ interim championship.

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