It’s better late than never, but the Ultimate Fighting Championship have finally issued light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones with a punishment after the 27-year-old violated the promotion’s code of conduct with a failed drug test back in December.
Jones (21-1) was surprised by an out-of-competition drug test conducted by the governing athletic commission on December 3, one month before his January 3 showdown with Daniel Cormier at UFC 182. The result was kept quiet and Jones went on to defeat Cormier; however, the failed test was announced to the world on January 6 with Jones having tested positive for benzoylecgonine, the primary metabolite of cocaine.
Jones escaped punishment at the hands of the athletic commission, and was allowed to compete as cocaine is not a banned substance for ‘out-of-competition’ fighters according to the World Anti-Doping Agency rules. He was good to go, providing his system was clean on fight night.
However, eyebrows were raised when the UFC, Jones’ employer, were seemingly content with giving him a pass as other fighters have served punishments for use of marijuana, as well as cocaine. UFC president Dana White expressed support for Jones and his decision to enter a drug rehab facility (for all of one night), but a punishment was yet to follow, until now.
As a result of the failed drug test, the UFC announced on January 17 that Jones has been fined $25,000 for violating the promotion’s code of conduct. Furthermore, the UFC intend to donate the sum to a substance abuse prevention program.
The fine should go a long way to setting an example, and is a significant step up from the $2,100 fine issued to Melvin Guillard by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in 2007 after the former UFC lightweight tested positive for cocaine in a pre-fight urine test.