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Jon Jones handed 1 year suspension by USADA

Interim light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (22-1-0) was suspended today by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for testing positive in a July 6 sample.

The positive test resulted in Jones being pulled from his fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 and replaced by Anderson Silva.

The suspension is retroactive to July 6 and was issued by the UFC arbitration panel.

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According to the arbitration documents, Jones claimed “he took a product, which he believed to be a pill of “Cialis”; a medicine whose absence from the WADA prohibited list he had previously checked with his agent, but which unbeknown, indeed unknowable, by him, was contaminated. Therefore he bore, he asserts, at most a light degree of fault in taking it. USADA (“the Respondent”) does not accept that explanation and in any event asserts that the Applicant’s fault was significant.”

Jones was found by USADA not to be “a drug cheat,” but did not exercise “due diligence” in ensuring what he ingested was compliant with USADA policies.

The UFC released the following 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.”

Jones also released a statement on USADA’s ruling.

“Although I was hopeful for a better outcome in the USADA ruling today I am very respectful of the process in which they allowed me to defend myself,” Jones said. “I have always maintained my innocence and I am very happy I have been cleared in any wrongdoing pursuant to the allegations made that I had intentionally taken a banned substance. I am pleased that in USADA’s investigation they determined I was ‘not a cheater of the sport.’”

The suspension will cost Jones an estimated $9 million in income. He will be eligible for competition beginning July 7, 2017.

Update: Jones was stripped of the interim light heavyweight belt Nov. 9. He was previously stripped of the undisputed belt back in April 2015, when he was involved in an automobile hit-and-run incident.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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