MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 2 – Jon Jones returns to the UFC with controversy

December 31, 2018

Jon Jones returned to the UFC on Saturday night at UFC 232 at The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.  The Forum in Inglewood, California.  He had a masterful performance in decimating Alexander Gustafsson was marred as we know.

Jones tested positive for Turinabol, the drug that caused his previous suspension.  It showed up in an early December test and later revealed to be in tests in August of 2018.  Despite these finding USADA and the California State Athletic Commission were adamant that they not destroy Jon Jones’ career due to failing a drug test.  CSAC did not know of the August tests prior to giving Jones his license back which seems all the shadier since USADA and the UFC knew of these findings but did not provide them to Andy Foster.

The CSAC required that Jones register with VADA to fight in California.  It was intimated at the hearing that California would pay for his enrollment.  Foster had chartered a plane to drug test Jones prior to his CSAC hearing.  But, the drug test was at a non-WADA authenticated drug lab in San Dimas, California according to an MMA Fighting report.

The event was moved on Sunday of fight week to LA from Vegas.  The cost to do this was $6 million according to Dana White at the pre-fight press conference in LA on Thursday.  Flights were chartered, a building was secured (how long in advance would be interesting to know) and schedules were rearranged.  The underlying innocent victim of this was the fans that flew to Vegas or were flying to Vegas and had booked hotel rooms.  They were out money and lost out.

The good news is that the SoCal fans, who lost a UFC event in January when the company postponed its January 26 PPV event, came through with a sellout at The Forum.

As for the drug tests, picograms were used as a talking point to show the small amount of banned substance in his system stating that this could not have yielded any performance enhancement.  This, in itself, would seem like a faulty argument if your goal is for zero tolerance of banned substances.  Still, this was the talking point shoved down the media’s throat.  And yet, when a journalist asked a question of Jones and his tests, the former and now current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion called for “better journalism.”

Similarly, he left an interview with TSN because it was “killing his vibe.”  For both instances of blissful ignorance, he apologized.

Jeff Novitsky did the media rounds on Joe Rogan and then one on Friday before the event.  While both were fine, it revealed a lot of issues with the UFC Anti-Doping Program.  Notably, it was clear that the UFC and USADA were defending Jon Jones.

Also of importance, the conclusion was that the UFC needed to move the fight to save the PPV.

Notwithstanding the issues with Jones (and we probably won’t know about his in-competition tests for a while), its clear that a showdown with Daniel Cormier is inevitable.  Despite Cormier relinquishing the Light Heavyweight title the day before the fight and retiring soon, it’s clear that the two are on a collision course.  It will be a big PPV fight but the questions will remain about Jones.

10. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 10 – The UFC Antitrust Lawsuit rolls on

9. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 9 – NLRB denies Leslie Smith claims against Zuffa

8. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 8 – Golden Boy promotes first MMA event

7. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 7 – DAZN enters sports streaming market

6. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 6 – Josh Barnett “wins” at USADA arbitration, but still leaves promotion

5. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 5 – PFL debuts

4. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 4 – ONE making moves, signs media deal with Turner

3. MMA Payout Year in Review: No. 3 – UFC signs media rights deal with ESPN

Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.