Jones, who was supposed to rematch Daniel Cormier in the main event of the July 9 supercard in Las Vegas, was taken aside by agent Malki Kawa in his hotel room and told three days before the fight that he had failed an out-of-competition USADA test and would be pulled from the bout.
Thursday, Jones told UFC color commentator Joe Rogan that he had a full-blown panic attack when he head the news.
"The week of the fight, UFC 200, my manager Malki calls up me up to my hotel room," Jones said on Rogan's podcast, "and says ‘hey I want to talk to you, man,'" and I said ‘what's going on,' and he said ‘you're not going to be fighting,' and I said ‘what are you talking about' and he said ‘you didn't pass your drug test.'
"And the level of hurt and confusion and, I literally had an anxiety attack and I've never had one of those before," Jones continued. "I felt like the whole room just came in on me. The whole room came down on me. I couldn't breathe. I remember opening up the window out to the balcony so that I could breathe and realize I was not trapped."
From there, Jones, whose UFC 200 fight was supposed to mark his return from a suspension related to a hit-and-run car accident in New Mexico in 2015, slowly began to realize the implications of the news he wouldn't be fighting.
"I instantly started thinking about how I had the weight of the world literally on my back. I knew that I wasn't going to be fighting hours before everyone else, the public knew. Even my own coaches were looking at me, like their hearts were on the floor. I had done so much to get back to fighting at UFC 200, getting my life in order, getting the people around me in order, getting my heart and mind into just being ... even now, people look at me like I still don't have my s**t together."
In the end, a tainted sexual-performance substance was the culprit, and Jones was given a one-year suspension backdated to July for his transgression.
Jones told Rogan on Thursday he didn't believe the pill would cause a problem because he had taken them before and they had never shown up on his commission-mandated drug test. Jones said a communication gap based on the UFC switching from commission testing to USADA in during his hit-and-run related suspension didn't help matters.
"I've taken them several times before, but the Nevada State [sic] Athletic Commission, I always passed my drug tests, and I know I would never do anything to cheat the sport," Jones said. "I put a lot of pride in my work ethic. I've been been skinny my whole carry and whupping people's ass. I'm not a knockout artist. I win because I work hard.
"But with the Nevada Athletic Commission I never had an issue," Jones continued. "And then I was suspended when USADA came, so I was never really educated on how dangerous USADA really was. I came back into the game and they're like there's this new company USADA. I was suspended for my hit and run, so I had never even met anyone from USADA or been to a seminar on what you can and cannot do."
In the end, Jones says it was a steep price to pay for what seemed an innocent mistake.
"The only thing I did was I took a pill that I thought was going to give me a boner," he said. "And it caused me a lot of heartache and a lot of disappointment and it just threw me back a year."