Just one week out from UFC 232 and the entire event has been relocated from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Los Angeles, California, following an abnormal drug test finding in a sample collected from Jon Jones.
That result was from an out-of-competition test on December 9 which “contained an extremely low level of 4-chloro-18-nor-17β-hydroxymethyl, 17α-methyl-5α-androst-13-en-3α-ol (M3)”, according to a statement released by USADA. This is the same substance Jones received a 15-month suspension for after failing a drug test for UFC 214 in July last year.
As a result, the Nevada Athletic Commission will not license Jones to fight in Nevada until he goes before a hearing in January.
Per USADA, the result is consistent with residual amounts stemming from that prior violation.
UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitsky expressed there was no suspicion of Jones committing an additional violation.
“There’s been no violation of the anti-doping program. He is cleared to find in terms of the USADA program,” Novitsky said (h/t MMAjunkie).
“USADA fully analysed it, internally. They reached out to outside experts from around the world. They reached out to another sports league that has seen the same issue. And all of them – independent of us – determined that this was not a re-ingestion of the substance and this very, very small amount that was occurring and still showing up, according to these expects from around the world, did not provide any performance-enhancing benefit.”
Novitsky described a “pulsing effect” which would explain a positive test result after multiple negatives.
The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) has since granted Jones a license to compete next weekend.
CSAC director Andy Foster told MMAFighting that Jones flew to California yesterday to submit a drug test to fulfil licensing requirements. The results were expedited and came back negative.
The UFC 232 main event between Jones and Alexander Gustafsson will proceed as normal next Sunday, December 30 (AU), but it will be held at The Forum in Los Angeles, California.