It’s going to be a long time until we get to see Jon Jones in the octagon again. In fact, we may have seen him compete for the last time.
Just as Jones was reintroducing himself as the world’s best fighter, TMZ reports he tested positive for Turinabol, an anabolic steroid, before his knockout victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. UFC president Dana White confirmed the news to ESPN.com.
This marks the second time Jones has been caught with performance-enhancing drugs in his system. In 2016, he tested positive for anti-estrogenic agents and was pulled from UFC 200, when his second fight against Cormier was originally scheduled to happen. He blamed that failed test on taking an unmarked sexual enhancement pill.
He served a one-year ban for that transgression, but the punishment for the current one is going to be far more severe. While TMZ reports Jones may be banned for up to four years, ESPN notes that “under the UFC’s anti-doping program, multiple offenders face the possibility of a suspension doubled in length.”
Said White, “If he ends up getting two or three (years), it might be the end of his career. How old is Jon now? 30? And he’d be 33, 34 trying to make a comeback again? You look at what could have been and what he could’ve done – it’s sad.”
Brett Okamoto, ESPN’s excellent UFC reporter, shares in White’s grief, as do thousands of fight fans all over the country.
“We are all at a complete loss for words right now,” Jones’ camp said in a statement. “Jon, his trainers, his nutritionists and his entire camp have worked tirelessly and meticulously the past 12 months to avoid this exact situation.”
Jones can ask that his “B” sample be tested to confirm the positive test, and he also has the right to appeal, but such courses of action rarely result in reversals.
Meanwhile, you’ve got to feel for Cormier. Before UFC 214, Cormier wondered aloud about Jones’ steroid use, and now, a month later, Cormier is wondering what would have happened that night in Sacramento had Jones not been juiced.
“In my mind, on July 29, I competed, and I lost. I thought Jon Jones was the better man that day,” Cormier said in a statement. “I don’t know what to think anymore. I can’t believe we are going through all of this again. We will see what happens next.”