In 2019 Jon Jones was subject to 42 no-notice drug tests by 3 separate organizations. The United States anti-doping agency, ( USADA) The California state athletic commission, (CSAC) and the Nevada state athletic commission (NSAC).
USADA likes to tout when an athlete hits the 25 clean tests threshold, and that usually encompasses the course of their career which ranges anywhere from 4 to 8 years seemingly. Jones was tested almost double that amount in one calendar year from 3 agencies, hell, He broke the 25 number last year just from USADA who tested him 30 times.
This type of transparency is good for Jones, and he welcomes it with open arms. He is definitely the most tested athlete in any sport in the world today.
I was on the UFC 247 conference call yesterday where John discussed all of this
“At one point in 2019, I did almost 30 drug tests with USADA alone, I also had two other drug testing agencies that were drug testing me. With USADA alone, I was one of the most heavily drug-tested athletes in all of sports. Include in the other agencies, the Nevada Athletic Commission and the California State Athletic Commission, I know for a fact no one has been drug tested more than me. What that shows is that I’m willing to prove this whole situation I was in was never intentional. I think it’s proof I had nothing to hide. It also proves my willingness to try to make things easier for fighters in the future.
“At the end of the day, fighters know there’s an allowance of how much you have in your body, That’s something I was able to help fight for through all of my hours in the courtroom. Because of me, USADA doesn’t go out and disclose people’s test unless they go out and know exactly what’s going on, which (can) stain people’s reputation. This whole situation damaged my situation tremendously. I feel like the only way I can make it right is being totally transparent with the fans (and) with the drug testers. I’ll tell you what. People with things to hide, they don’t submit themselves to that level of drug testing. I think that’ll help with my reputation over time.” ( these quotes were transcribed from MMAJunkie)
I believe that every fighter in the UFC whether they like Jones or not owes him a slight debt of gratitude. He mentioned how there is no more public disclosure of an athlete failing a test until the investigation has been completed.
If you guys remember that when the testing program first started we would see in the media when an athlete was popped for a negative test. Some unjustly because when their case was finished they had been exonerated, but the damage and the perception in the public eye had already been done because of an announced possible doping violation, rather than an actual conviction.
Allowable thresholds have also been raised because of Jones. There are some things that athletes take or use that are acceptable in the drug testing program as long as they are within certain levels. Those levels were all raised a bit during all of Jones’s transgressions and accusations, with one of the biggest being the allowable amount of marijuana metabolites that an athlete can have in their system whether it is during an in competition test or an out of competition test, something else that Jones should be given thanks for.
Jones has always stated that he had never intentionally taking any performance enhancing drugs, and if you do the research and go back and look at everything that has transpired when it comes to drug testing and Jones, he wasn’t lying. In all of his cases it was proven that he never intentionally took any performance enhancing drugs. He was suspended for not doing his due diligence about investigating what he was putting into his body.
Jones believes that this type of uber- transparency is needed for him to repair the damage done to his career because of doping violations, and will continue to be available for testing whenever he is asked to be.
While Jones never aspired to be the martyr for all fighters when it comes to dealing with the United States anti-doping agency, that is exactly what he has become.
While his career has taken a beating because of his issues with doping violations, his suffering and loss of income, credibility, and opportunities has benefited the UFC athlete, himself included.
There have been numerous athletes who have benefited from what Jones has gone through during his career. He was the big fish, they were gunning for him, and he came out on the other side as not guilty of doping on purpose. Because of that, other fighters have been able to avoid suspensions because the landscape changed during every single Jones investigation.
While many out there will continue to bash Jones because they would rather follow that narrative than the facts, Jones seemingly isn’t bothered by that because he knows at the end of the day the opinions of the trolls and the haters aren’t what matters. It’s the opinion of those in the know that actually take the time to dig in to the all of this and present the facts, a.k.a the truth that matters the most.
There are still things wrong with the testing policies of USADA with one of the biggest in my opinion, being athletes having to be available 24 hours a-day 7 days a week during their tenure with the UFC. These athletes have to be more available then a felon who is out on parole, how is that even right?
Hopefully, as time continues to move forward and the relationship between the UFC, it’s athletes, and the United States anti-doping agency continues to evolve we will see more positive changes in the testing policies where the athletes are given much more of a fair shake then they’ve had in the past.
Jon Jones, the man who many believe is the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, has broken records as an athlete and continues to achieve things in his sport that others haven’t done, and others won’t be able to do, may end up not just being the G.O.A.T of the sport, but the G.O.A.T for policy change by USADA that benefits his peers today and the fighter of the future in the UFC, sounds a tad bit crazy, yet it may just be the truth.
Jon Jones defends his light heavyweight championship against Dominick Reyes this Saturday night in the main event of UFC 247 live from Houston, Texas. If you can not attend the event that’s okay, you can catch all the action on the ESPN family of networks, the official broadcast partner of the UFC.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.