The story of Jon Jones' career will be forever linked with Rashad Evans.
Evans and Jones were friends and training partners until Jones was tabbed to step in for an injured Evans in a title fight against Mauricio Rua. Jones' performance in that title fight would launch his career and be the starting point for the most dominant championship run in light heavyweight history. It also would sour their friendship and result in Evans leaving the Jackson-Winklejohn camp and the two eventually fighting each other. Both men have since put the bad blood behind them. So this week when Evans went on the 5 Rounds podcast with ESPN's Brett Okamoto, it wasn't to kick Jones while he's down but he did share his disappointment about Jones' recent failed USADA test.
"I just felt huge disappointment. As a fan first, and as somebody who is closely associated with Jon...I just hate to see somebody that has so much potential to do so many great things have this kind of situation happen to them. In my opinion, he's probably one of the greatest fighters to ever put on gloves but now his legacy is going to be associated with the asterisk of ‘was he clean?' and all the other things that he is known for outside of the cage.
"It's very unfortunate. You look at Jon perform and what he's been able to do - the body of work he's been able to accomplish - and just look at the physical specimen of who Jon is, you just think that he doesn't really need any kind of help with any kind of performance enhancing drugs. But this is a game of just trying to recover and making sure that you do what you need to do in order to train again. So maybe he got himself caught up trying to take something to help him recover."
What Jones took is currently unknown but the cause of much speculation. There has been no official confirmation of what Jones was flagged for but the leading rumor is that Jones was caught with 2 different estrogen blockers in his system. Evans, Chael Sonnen, and Brendan Schaub have all made this claim and in the interview with Okamoto, Evans says that multiple sources confirmed it for him. He then goes on to say that the rumors are still unsubstantiated.
"What he took, I have no idea. It's still yet to be confirmed, but it does look like he was trying to hide something or he was trying to balance something out if that's in fact what he did get caught for. "
By "balance something out" Evans means that estrogen blockers are often used as "post-cycle" therapy to counteract the increase in estrogen that can result after a cycle of steroids (per Iain Kidd of BloodyElbow.com). There is also some evidence to suggest that estrogen blockers can increase testosterone as well, another reason why a fighter might take them. But Evans doesn't believe this is the case for Jones.
"I think he may have taken something that wasn't exactly what he thought it was. I just can't really see, in my mind, somebody that's going to be tested as heavily as Jones knowingly taking something he's going to get popped for...Jon has been one of the top tested athletes and he has a huge spotlight on him so I don't think that he would be stupid enough to take something that he knows is banned."
According to USADA's website, Jones has been tested 8 times over the last 2 years, making him the third most heavily tested light heavyweight behind Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson. With UFC 200 being the most high profile fight card in the sport's history, in all likelihood Jones would have assumed he'd be tested in the build up to the fight. Jones's camp has declined to reveal what Jones was flagged for, but they have been clear that they intend to dispute the results, intimating that his positive results may be due to tainted supplements.
If so, Jones would not be the first fighter to fall victim to this growing epidemic. Tim Means and Yoel Romero both received suspensions for failing USADA tests and both accepted reductions down from 2 years to only 6 months because they proved their supplements were indeed tainted. (For what it's worth, the company for one of the supplements Jones uses has stated that their supplement is not to blame for this.) Jones is also facing a 2 year suspension.
Ultimately, Evans says, fighters need to be more careful.
"It's just unfortunate. In today's MMA you've got to be really informed about what you put inside your body."
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EXTRA CREDIT READING
What a long strange trip. Jordan Breen of Sherdog discusses the weirdness that is this sport.
The Beat from yesterday.
Tito telling his side of the Lee Murray story. I kinda believe him because his statement "no one knocks me out, my head is too big" is pretty accurate.
Imperator Furi-Rose-a training montage.
Robin Black recap
Buffer recaps 200 and his injury.
Big John was on Joey Diaz's pod.
All Cleared by the doctor to fight again! pic.twitter.com/nyj6Xz3VwB— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) July 14, 2016
This man put on one hell of a show for a short notice featherweight fighting a top 5 lightweight.
I don't know where this pic comes from but damn.
Conor gets swag.
When it's conor's birthday pic.twitter.com/FffPLpO5EU— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) July 14, 2016
DSM casually ethering Kavanagh.
Unsold copies of the book? https://t.co/D02D8BDk8h— David St. Martin (@SaintMMA) July 14, 2016
This is pretty dope.
On the eve of my 28th birthday @coach_kavanagh surprised me with the return of my first two World title belts! My 145lb and 155lb Cage Warrior titles! We've been collecting these World titles a long time now! A nice reminder of where we came from to where we are now! Thank you coach for showing me the Martial Art life! #FightLife
TJ responding hard.
It's comical to me how much of a pussy @dominickcruz is. Trying to do whatever he can to not fight me, pushing to fight senior citizens that should be in a retirement home. Now wanting to jump weight classes to fight so he can avoid me. As usual, he's running and doesn't want to fight, he and I both know I won that first fight and he'll say what ever he can to avoid giving back what's rightfully mine! I'm his biggest threat. Stop running, let's get this on paper @UFC.
Never forget that fighters are people and most of them are pretty decent so chill your rhetoric.
DC on Cain.
I've actually been here before. This is the look when you realize everything that everybody has said about @officialcainvelasquez going super hard is true, but not only true it's worse than you could imagine. All you can think is o my goodness he's still coming forward. Travis Browne is a bad dude it's just that Cain is the absolute best. Picture is worth 1000 words cred @allelbows
One of these things is not like the other.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2007: Siyar Bahadurzada won the Shooto middleweight championship, defeating Shiko Yamashita by unanimous decision.
I'm pretty shocked at the poll results from yesterday. A Dillashaw-Cruz rematch only beat out John Lineker as far as fights y'all would like to see. Cruz and Dillashaw had an extremely close fight their first time and frankly, a highly enjoyable, technically brilliant one. I expected it to get a lot more love but people seemed to like the idea of Cruz-Aldo.
Cruz fighting Aldo kind of feels like he would just get murdered by the bigger, cleaner striker. Also, Cruz's striking relies heavily on the threat of the takedown and Jose Aldo is the best defensive wrestler in MMA history. Cruz would get his legs chewed up and counter jabbed to death. Also, I'm not entirely sure Cruz would even be able to land a clean punch on Aldo who is every bit the defensive wizard Cruz is.
Cruz-DJ is the match to me. Their fight was close the first time and DJ has improved so much since then. Maybe he still can't navigate the size difference but that is the superfight that makes the most sense. Also, Aldo has McGregor or Holloway or both to contend with first. If Cruz really doesn't want to fight TJ again then let him fight DJ or Frankie Edgar at 135 while the young guns at bantamweight rack up a few more wins.
Anyway, that's just my two cents. Have a great weekend y'all. See you Monday.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.