When news broke Tuesday that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones had failed an out of competition drug test prior to his bout with Daniel Cormier and that he was checking into a rehab facility, I was utterly shocked. On December 4th, Jones tested positive for benzoylecgonine, the main metabolite in cocaine; just 30 days before his bout with Cormier. As this was an “out of competition” test and because the substance is not banned out of competition, Jones was allowed to fight at UFC 182.

While I was shocked to learn about the failed test by Jones, considering the world we live in and the transgressions of countless other athletes before him, it’s not all the surprising. Anytime you mix youth, fame and money together trouble is just around the corner. But what is surprising is the utter vitriol being directed towards Jones by the fans.

Haven’t we gotten to a point as fans of professional sports where we come to expect these issues from time to time? Jones made a mistake in his personal life and he is taking the steps to battle those demons. He didn’t cheat, bend or break the rules. Who are we as fans and humans to pass judgment on Jones? Why do we constantly expect more from athletes when they are every bit as flawed as you or I?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing Jones for this failed test, but I’m not going become a member of the morality police and spew hate towards him because he made a mistake; again a mistake in his personal life that didn’t break any rules of the sport. In fact, a week after the failed test, Jones was retested and the result came back clean.

If anyone should be condemned for this, it’s the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the UFC. The NSAC and the UFC knew about the failed test in advance of UFC 182 and they kept it quiet. Granted, because Jones didn’t technically break any rules, they couldn’t keep him from competing at UFC 182, but they could have gotten out in front of the issue.

The lack of transparency and full disclosure screams of “cover up” and the murky testing standards and guidelines for “in competition” and “out of competition” looks like there is a double standard that Jones is benefiting from.

Rather than pile on a young man battling a terrible demon, we should be wishing him luck on the long and arduous journey of recovery. There is a major issue with how this all played out and Jones isn’t the one to blame here.

About The Author

RJ Gardner
Content Coordinator

RJ Gardner is a rabid sports fan and a long time MMA enthusiast. After watching UFC 1 at ripe old age of 11 RJ was hooked and his passion for the sport has continued to blossom over the years. RJ has been covering MMA since 2007 and has had work featured on Bleacher Report, SI.com, CBSSports.com and UFC.com. RJ is also a Petroleum Transportation Operations Manager during the day.