It has been nearly a year since Jon Jones last fought and almost 11 months since news broke that the former UFC light heavyweight champion failed another drug test. And yet, there is still no sign of an official sanction from USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner.
Abe Kawa, one of Jones’ managers, told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour that the decision should be coming soon and he believes USADA is taking its time working toward a measured suspension, because of Jones’ stature as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
“It’s complicated,” Kawa said. “USADA does a very good job. People are banging on them and hating on them. There’s things I do not agree with with USADA. I’ve told them behind closed doors things I don’t agree with. But USADA does a very good job. They’ve done a very good job cleaning up the sport. It’s imperative that they get this right. It’s imperative that they get this case right, because of who Jon is. And I think they’re doing the best they can to get it right. With that being said, I’m confident that we will have a decision soon. I just don’t want to put a date on it and say, it’s gonna come down at this time, it’s gonna come at that time.
“There is a decision coming and it’s hopefully sooner rather than later.”
Jones is facing a four-year suspension as a second-time offender. He tested positive for the steroid Turinabol in an in-competition drug test in relation to a title fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 in July 2017. In 2016, Jones tested positive for two anti-estrogen agents and served a one-year USADA suspension.
Jones, 30, went before the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) in February for the transgression. He was fined $205,000 and had his license to fight revoked by the commission. CSAC executive officer Andy Foster said that he won’t recommend Jones get his license reinstated until the completion of his USADA suspension.
Since the drug-test failure came to light in August 2017, Jones has vehemently denied knowingly taking the prohibited substance. He passed multiple out-of-competition tests leading into UFC 214 and more afterward. Jones was able to prove to USADA in 2016 that he took a tainted supplement, leading to the appearance of banned drugs in his system. But he has not been able to find a similar contaminated product this time around.
Kawa said despite the uncertainty, Jones is training and planning out his comeback — no matter how long it takes.
“He’s in a good place,” Kawa said. “He’s anxious to get back more than anything. People you say you get that itch — he’s got an itch, man. It’s bad. I actually feel bad for the next guy that fights him. I really do. Not saying he’s going to take it all out on him. But he’s sharpening his tools to where you thought he was good before, wait until you see him now.”
Jones beat Cormier at UFC 214 by knockout to win back the UFC light heavyweight title. But the win was overturned as a result of the test failure and the UFC stripped the title and gave it back to Cormier.
Kawa said it would be a “dream scenario” for Jones to come back and fight the winner of the UFC heavyweight title fight between Cormier and champion Stipe Miocic, which takes place at UFC 226 on July 7 in Las Vegas. But it’s all about timing.
Jones, Kawa said, has remained hopeful about the future of his career and Georges St-Pierre’s comeback after four years away to beat Michael Bisping for the middleweight title last year was an inspiration for him.
“When he saw GSP do what he did, it actually lit a fire under him,” Kawa said. “He said, ‘Man, you know what, if he can do that after four years, why can’t I? Why can’t I go out there and do that?’ Or whatever it might be. So, Jon, never once did he say, ‘I’m gonna quit, I don’t want to do this anymore.’”