On Tuesday, amid the media circus that is Mayweather vs. McGregor, a bombshell dropped on the MMA world: UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones failed an in-competition drug test for his title winning performance at UFC 214. As a result, Jones has been provisionally suspended by USADA pending a full investigation by the California Athletic Commission
In response, yesterday UFC President Dana White held a media scrum to field questions about this latest Jones controversy and threw salt in the wound of every MMA fan who wants to see Jones compete when he answered a question about Jones rematching Alexander Gustafssonby saying that before this drug test, the UFC was looking to have Jones challenge Stipe Miocicfor the heavyweight title at UFC 218 in Detroit.
“Obviously, it’s brutal. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. I’m sure I feel the same way every one of you felt when you heard.
“We were talking about Jones fighting at heavyweight. Probably [against Stipe in Detroit].”
MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani has reported that the UFC spoke to Jones’ team about the possibility of that fight, though Miocic’s team was not contacted.
Jones moving up to heavyweight is something MMA fans have been wanting to see for a long time. Widely considered to be the greatest light heavyweight of all time, and arguably the greatest fighter ever, calls for Jones to move up and compete against bigger men began following him after he ran roughshod over the 205 pound division. But Jones’ inability to stay active in the UFC due to legal troubles and a failed drug test a year ago, stalled talks of him moving up in weight. Now, with facing a potential four-year ban from the sport, Dana White says those same trouble might just end his career.
“If this ends up and he ends up getting two- or three-[year suspension] – that might be the end of his career. Talk about his legacy, that’s probably the end of his career. He might [come back] but it’s tough. How old is Jon now, 30? 33-34, trying to make a comeback again, and you look at what could have been, what he could have done, it’s sad.
I don’t even know what to say. I always know what to say. I don’t know what to say about this one.”
Jones reportedly failed this test for the anabolic steroid turinabol, though that has yet to be confirmed. Should the prove true, turinabol carries with it a two-year suspension though Jones’ previous failures mean he could face up to four years away from the sport.
And that is just the USADA punishment. White suggested the UFC may impose a separate punishment on Jones, depending how the situation plays out. And though White has yet to strip Jones of the title, it’s clear he’s disappointed in the fighter he calls “the best ever” and his self-destructive tendencies.
“You look at the potential that this kid had and what he could have been, you know what I mean? Look at Conor right now. Look at Conor McGregor. Imagine what Jon Jones could be right now. How big he could be, how many sponsors he would have, who he’d be signed with that have never signed a mixed martial artist before. The list goes on and on about what could have been with Jon Jones. It’ll be a great 30 for 30 some day.”