One piece of the Jon Jones doping puzzle will be put in place later this month.
Jones, one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, will go before the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) for a hearing Feb. 27 in Anaheim, per the agenda posted to the CSAC website Wednesday. There, Jones will receive his commission sanctions — likely a suspension and fine — for testing positive for the steroid Turinabol in an in-competition drug test with relation to his UFC 214 fight with Daniel Cormier last July.
Jones, 30, will still have to go to arbitration in his case with USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, after the CSAC hearing. There’s no guarantee the sanctions in both cases will be the same. Jones’ agent Malki Kawa said on The Luke Thomas Show on Monday that the team expects a conclusion to this process by the end of March at the very latest.
Under USADA, Jones is facing a four-year suspension as a second-time offender. In 2016, Jones tested positive for two banned substances — clomiphene and Letrozol — in an out-of-competition drug test in relation to UFC 200. He was suspended one year for that transgression, with arbitrators finding that Jones did not knowingly cheat, but was recklessly negligent in taking what he described as a “dick pill” that led to the positive test.
It’s unclear what kind of suspension and fine Jones will receive from CSAC in two weeks. That will depend solely on the commission. CSAC executive officer Andy Foster has yet to give a recommendation to the commissioners regarding sanctions.
Jones’ victory over Cormier — a third-round TKO — has already been overturned by CSAC and made a no contest. That won’t change either way since, whether Jones knowingly took Turinabol or not, the drug was in his system during the bout. After the victory was overturned, the UFC stripped Jones of the light heavyweight title he won in the bout and gave it back to Cormier.
Jones and his team have staunchly denied that he knowingly took the steroid. Kawa told Thomas on SiriusXM that he believes there is a 95-percent chance Jones will fight before the conclusion of 2018.
Jones, the longtime former UFC light heavyweight champion, passed a polygraph test last month in effort to prove he did not knowingly take the banned substance.