Last month’s UFC 214 saw the end of one of the most intense rivalries in combat sports. Jon “Bones” Jones took on longtime rival, Daniel Cormier, in a bout to determine who would earn the right to be called the UFC light heavyweight champion. Jones won the bout by TKO, achieving this title. While his victory was extremely impressive, it is not what recently thrust him into the spotlight.
Jones was pulled from the UFC 200 card in July 2016 for testing positive for two banned substances: hydroxyclomiphene— an anti-estrogenic agent—and letrozole metabolite—an aromatase inhibitor.
Because these drug violations were not his first, he was suspended for one year. Jones’ comeback was highly anticipated and the UFC capitalized on the buildup to his super fight with Cormier, which had been put on hold for over a year so that Jones could serve his sentence.
Less than two weeks after the Jones-Cormier fight, it was revealed that Jones had failed the United States Anti-Doping Agency drug test that took place before the fight.
Jones tested positive for turinabol, an anabolic steroid. He has been since stripped of the title. However, he has yet to receive a sentence. The results of his B-sample have not come back yet, but if they come back positive, he could serve a sentence of up to four years.
The news could not have come at a worse time for the UFC, as they were building him up to be their biggest star, and hinting that they were planning for him to face UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 218.
Jones’ failure has drawn strong criticism from the sporting world, with his opponent Cormier stating that he was “left feeling sick” and “disappointed.” Others were more vocal in their disdain, including commentator Joe Rogan, who believes Jones has ruined his career.
"Jon Jones, with this, becomes the number one f—k up of all time, for sure, if he wasn’t already,” Rogan said on a recent episode of his podcast. “This is the biggest one ever ... We can only hope and pray that somehow or another there’s some mistake.”
Even UFC President Dana White expressed his doubts about whether Jones would be cleared. “It’s bad,” said White. “He’s got to go through the process now, and we’ll see how this thing plays out. But, yeah, it’s bad.”
In the end, it can safely be stated that although Jones has not yet been convicted of anything and is still entitled to due process, his future looks bleak. His ability to be a box office draw has definitely taken a hit, whether his result comes back clean or not. The UFC has also been impacted, as it is lacking the star power that had helped it reach new heights only a few years ago.
Jones has been considered one of the most gifted fighters in UFC history, sporting an impressive record of 23-1. He can ultimately blame no one but himself for his current predicament, however.
He has vehemently denied any wrongdoing on his part, and has since claimed that the drug might have been slipped into his supplements without his consent.
Jones is conducting himself less like a true champion would and more like a man hanging on the ropes, pointing the blame at all parties but himself.
Although the final verdict by the USADA and the California State Athletic Commission is yet to be made, it seems that his career may never be the same again. He has lost the trust of not only the UFC and its professionals, but of his own fans and supporters as well.