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For Jon Jones, nine million clams would seem like enough to arouse caution

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jon Jones isn’t fighting again until at least mid-2017, but very possibly not until 2018. By that time, Daniel Cormier will be 39 years old and Anthony Johnson will be a super-heavyweight. We will be talking about the good ol’ days, back when the UFC used to visit New York, long before fighter insurance spooked them off for good, and before the new WME-IMG ownership group replaced The Ultimate Fighter with Fighter Hollywood Squares.

USADA came down hard on Jones for testing positive for the two banned substances, clomiphene and Letrozol, in an out-of-competition drug test prior to his UFC 200 main event with Cormier in July. The independent arbitration panel saw Jones’ argument as not only careless but blatantly flaccid, all this business about a tainted sexual performance tablet for a cat that is always associating himself with lions. Or rather, Jones was suspended until July 2017 — one calendar year retroactive to his date with Cormier — because he was the dope that the United States Anti-Doping Agency discovered in the process.

They said so themselves.

"On the evidence before the Panel, the Applicant is not a drug cheat," USADA’s statement stated conclusively. "He did not know that the tablet he took contained prohibited substances or that those substances had the capacity to enhance sporting performance. However by his imprudent use of what he pungently referred to as a ‘dick pill’ he has not only lost a year of his career but an estimated nine million dollars. This outcome which he admits to be a wake-up call for him should serve as a warning to all others who participate in the same sport."

You’d like to see a more liberal use of commas in a statement like that, but as Dana White likes to say, it is what it is. Jones was happy that he was exonerated of cheating. The red flag being hoisted to half-mast though is that whole "dick pill" thing. Not that long ago, Anderson Silva took one of the meanest jabs of his career when he explained to the Nevada Athletic Commission that a hot drug test of his own got that way because of a blue vial of liquid libido he took, fresh off the boat from Thailand. Silva — who is considered by many the GOAT, right there with Jon Jones — had the good sense not to refer to the liquid as "dick juice," at least not with Pat Lundvall holding up a book with intentions of throwing it.

Anyway, that went a long way in preserving his dignity.

Jones — who still has to go before that same NAC panel, which could double-down on his suspension — just let it all hang out. He didn’t even try and mask things with proper code. He didn’t call it a "Richard Pill," for instance, which would have been a subtle nod to the arbiters that he has his own version of a tent-pole event. He didn't say, "They call me Jonny Bones Jones for a reason," either, just to break some ice. Instead he just hammered them with "dick pill," which brought out ire of the panel, and had them looking up synonyms for foul-smelling cheese.

"Pungent!" one of them said, as another hustled it into the 28-page epilogue. "What that man said was pungent!" It’s hard to argue.

It will be a long time before the interim champion Jones makes his way back into the Octagon. A long time. The word "interim" will take on new meaning, as in things like "Submission Underground" will stand in for competition for him, rather than actual fighting. Jones is 29, and will be 31 in July of 2018. That’s a lot of time for him to behave, too, which is what he swears he’s been up to. Just behaving.

With Jones that, too, seems like a tall order.

(Oh how long ago those tranquil days of Paterson seem now, back when Jones was stopping totalitarian street thugs from daytime robberies just hours before beating up Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. Back then Jones was the surveilling eye of justice, a pastor’s son who had super human powers and a baby face. Now it’s a public discourse in dick pills.).

Here’s the thing, though. USADA was brought in to catch cheaters. It is doing that, but in the process it is also exposing careless decisions, which is a subgenre of the same thing. Jones wasn’t cheating, which is good. Jones continues to be Jones, which is kind of the lingering problem. Now he’s out for another extended period of time. The lesson is a little paradoxical in this case: Don't just pop some dick pills, man, even if it seems like you're being mindful of what goes in the body.