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Jon Jones' USADA arbitration hearing set for Halloween

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jon Jones is scheduled to make a different kind of history later this month.

Jones' arbitration hearing against the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is set for Oct. 31 in Los Angeles, MMA Fighting has learned. Barring a last-minute settlement, Jones will be the first UFC fighter to officially appeal a USADA sanction via arbitration.

Jones was forced out of his rematch against Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 on July 6, three days before the event, after being flagged for a positive drug test administered by USADA on June 16. Jones immediately denied knowingly taking any illegal substance. It was later revealed by the Nevada Athletic Commission that the two banned substances found in Jones' system were hydroxy-clomiphene and Letrozole, which are anti-estrogen agents.

Jones faces a maximum one-year suspension from USADA because those substances are considered "specified substances" under the World Anti-Doping Agency Code.

Per the WADA Code, "there is a greater likelihood that these (specified) substances could be susceptible to a credible non-doping explanation." When it comes to specified substances, the WADA Code recognizes that it is possible for a prohibited substance to enter an athlete's body inadvertently, "and therefore allow a tribunal more flexibility when making a sanctioning decision."

Jones, the former UFC light heavyweight champion, who still holds the distinction of being the youngest champion in UFC history, also has a hearing set with the Nevada Athletic Commission on Nov. 10.

Both Yoel Romero and Tim Means explored the possibility of going to arbitration for their respective cases, however, they ended up settling with USADA beforehand.

Coincidentally, the UFC recently sent a letter to all its athletes detailing the USADA appeals process.

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