UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya used a ceremony commemorating his 50 clean drug tests to jab rival Jon Jones.
Speaking to the media after receiving a jacket from UFC drug testing partner U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Adesanya quipped, “I’ve never hidden anywhere, by the way ... always show my whereabouts.”
Adesanya’s comment, after a long intro by UFC anti-doping czar Jeff Novitzky, was a thinly veiled reference to an infamous moment in Jones lore when he hid under a cage at Jackson Wink MMA to avoid a Nevada Athletic Commission drug tester. The story was long considered an unsubstantiated rumor until the former light heavyweight champ confirmed it himself during a Twitter argument with Adesanya in October 2020.
Jones, who attacked a fight-night photo of Adesanya at UFC 253 as evidence of the middleweight champ’s PED use, admitted he hid from the tester because he had just smoked marijuana. Given Jones’ past with drug positives, which have resulted in two anti-doping suspensions and the stripping of his light heavyweight title, the admission didn’t move Adesanya.
The middleweight champ gave a shoutout to his management company, Paradigm, for updating his USADA whereabouts form when he forgot and touted his drug testing record. Novitzky said Adesanya was the first fighter to reach 50 tests having joined the USADA testing pool after the implementation of its out-of-competition drug testing program.
“You’ll never find me under the cage — I’m always in there fighting,” Adesanya said.
Adesanya and Jones have repeatedly sparred in the media over a potential showdown, and Adesanya has said a fight with “Bones” is inevitable. But the champ recently clarified that the grudge match won’t take place until Jones becomes and active fighter; Jones hasn’t fought since February 2020 and relinquished the title in anticipation of a heavyweight move.