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Alexander Gustafsson’s team says Jon Jones has ‘essentially received a use exemption’ after UFC 232 positive drug test

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Alexander Gustafsson lost to Jon Jones at UFC 232.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Team Gustafsson is not pleased with Jon Jones’ latest UFC 232 drug testing results.

MMA Fighting reported Wednesday that Jones tested positive for trace amounts of a longterm metabolite of oral Turinabol in a Dec. 28 sample collected by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) on the day of UFC 232’s weigh-ins. The VADA test results discovered that Jones had 33 picograms in his system of the same M3 longterm metabolite that was found in Jones’ system in three separate drug tests from August 2018 to early December, including a Dec. 9 drug test which prompted the UFC to uproot UFC 232’s entire event from Nevada to California on less than a week’s notice.

The California State Athletic Commission opted not to punish Jones for his positive Dec. 28 drug test, citing the same logic that the UFC and USADA cited following Jones’ positive drug test on Dec. 9 — essentially, that the longterm M3 metabolite found in Jones’ system was a “pulsing” remnant of the same substance Jones was previously suspended 15 months for following a failed July 2017 drug test in relation to UFC 214.

Jones ultimately defeated Gustfasson via third-round TKO to recapture the light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 232. He passed his Dec. 29 fight night drug tests administered by the UFC and USADA.

Jones is currently scheduled to appear at a Nevada Athletic Commission hearing on Jan. 29 to determine his future in light of his latest drug-testing situation. If all goes well, Jones is tentatively slated to defend his title agianst Anthony Smith on March 2 in the main event of UFC 235.

On Thursday, Gustafsson’s team released a statement to MMA Fighting expressing displeasure with Jones’ latest drug-testing findings and the way in which the light heavyweight champion’s case has been handled. Gustafsson’s manager Nima Safapour wrote that Jones has “essentially received a use exemption on a strict liability violation,” and called the whole situation “an absolute mess.”

Safapour’s full statement can be read below.

“The inconclusive and inconsistent results that are repeatedly occurring with Jon Jones, at the very least, should compel our industry to have a greater, deeper, and more impartial discussion about the legitimacy of Jon’s defense. Jon has gone out publicly boasting when some of his results come back negative. However, he remains silent when his test results come back positive. You can not have it both ways and cherry-pick the results that are favorable for you, and insist that we disregard the results that go against your interests.

“Jon has essentially received a use exemption on a strict liability violation. The science is not certain on the defense he has taken. Furthermore, science is always in a state of change. So the science we rely on today is different than the science we relied on from just a few years ago. It will probably change again going forward. Jones is also creating a precedent that will go beyond his personal interests in the sense that now other fighters will also seek use exemptions on a strict liability violation based on an issue that the science community is still divided on. It’s an absolute mess.”