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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Danny Segura and Ken Hathaway

Jon Jones claims past drug test failures no longer valid, wants no contest vs. Daniel Cormier overturned

LAS VEGAS – Jon Jones feels like his name should be cleared of past drug test failures.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion claims his previous test results are no longer valid under a 2019 revision to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency rules that upped the threshold for prohibited substances to 100 picograms. Although USADA is not clear on its website of this specific change, UFC senior vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitsky commented publicly on the change in threshold for prohibited substances in 2020.

Jones, who’s making his long-awaited return this Saturday at UFC 285, is hoping that his name is cleared of the failed drug tests he had prior to the change in threshold, and the no contest result of his 2017 rematch against Daniel Cormier gets overturned back to a KO win.

“USADA has changed some of the rules regarding picograms and what’s allowed, and I’ve come to find out that all my findings are all under the new legal limit, meaning that I would’ve been cleared from every test that I’ve ever taken, and that means a lot to me,” Jones told reporters at Wednesday’s UFC 285 media day.

Jones previously failed multiple drug tests for androgen-related substances. The first came ahead of his rematch against Cormier, which was originally scheduled for UFC 200 in 2016. He tested positive for estrogen blockers clomiphene and letrozole.

After serving a USADA suspension for the original violation, Jones would then test positive again in 2017 after successfully making a comeback to stop Cormier at UFC 214. Jones tested positive for turinabol, causing his win to be overturned to a no contest, along with a 15-month suspension. From there, Jones alternated negative and positive tests, showing very low levels of the same substance he tested positive for at UFC 214. One of the tests revealed 33 picograms, which is under the 100-picogram threshold in the revised USADA policy. USADA experts concluded this was a “pulsing effect” and there was no new violation.

“If that same rule would’ve applied back then, it would’ve never made the media,” Jones said. “It would’ve never been a big deal at all. My win over Daniel Cormier wouldn’t be a no contest. It would be a knockout, a KO victory.

“So, I’m hoping that with these rule changes, we could go back and make that no contest a win. That would mean a lot to me. I don’t have any ill will towards USADA. It’s just something we needed to go through. I was the first one, and one of the biggest names to go through it, and I’m glad I did because some of these younger fighters wouldn’t have been able to survive something like that.

“They would’ve just been cut or not been able to afford the lawyers or whatever. So I took the bullet for this sport and Major League Baseball. I’m glad fighters in the future will get to avoid what I went through. It was hell being considered a steroid cheat. I’m glad that people get to see clearly that I never was. I feel set free.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.

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