It’s been a crazy week in the world of mixed martial arts.

We all know the story by now. Jone Jones and Daniel Cormier came together for one of the biggest fights in the history of the sport. Just days after retaining his title, Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports breaks the news that Jon Jones tested positive for metabolites related to Cocaine. Ever more perplexing, the test was administered on December 4th and the results came back on December 23rd.

We now know that the UFC was aware of the results after being notified by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on December 23rd and let the fight take place anyway. Adding more confusion, it has been suggested that the testing for street drugs wasn’t supposed to happen. The NSAC was only supposed to be testing for performance enhancing drugs due to the fact that the testing period was considered out of competition. For clarification, in competition is defined as being within twelve hours of the fight.

With the news of the failed test, Jones has decided to enter himself into rehab and issued an apology. Cocaine is a hard drug and has ruined lives, so it’s great to hear that he is taking care of the issue. That being said, social media was overwhelmed with comparisons to Matt Riddle, Nick Diaz, and Pat Healy. All of which have tested positive for marijuana and faced steep penalties for doing so. It’s an understandable, but emotional argument. Times are changing and pot is becoming more and more accepted. Cocaine on the other hand is still considered a hard street drug and for good reason. So why is this happening?

Those three men where tested within the in competition window and tested positive for a banned substance. The NSAC follows the lead of the World Anti-doping Agency code which does not ban benzoylecgonine during the out of competition time frame. This is the metabolite that Jones tested positive for and it’s presence in the test is caused by cocaine. So, the outcome is that Jon Jones has tested positive for cocaine and he is going to rehab, but no further punishment at this point will be handed down.

There have been arguments made that if it’s recreational use, it’s not a big deal and if it’s out of competition then it’s no ones business. The out of competition definition itself has been brought into question, because the test was administered one month prior to the fight. At this point he was surely in training for the fight. Pushing his body to the limit day in and day out.  Training for a five round fight, the biggest fight of his career, he must have been doing a lot of cardiovascular exercises. Meanwhile, he is doing cocaine. With millions of dollars in revenue on the line for Las Vegas and the UFC they let the fight take place.

Dana White and the NSAC have come out defending themselves with statements that lead the public to believe that their hands where tied in the matter. The substance wasn’t banned, and Jones had a contract. Could the NSAC have decided that Jones wasn’t medically fit to proceed in the event? Well they sent him to doctors who checked him out and gave him the go ahead. No one knows what those doctors did to determine Jones’ state thought. There are plenty of fighters that have passed pre-fight medicals with broken hands and even limbs.

With Jones checking into a rehabilitation center, it doesn’t seem like it’s just recreational use. There is a beer culture and even a pot culture, not much of a cocaine culture anymore. Why? Because the 80’s happened and we all know it’s a terrible and massively addictive drug. The concept that he on occasion just did a bump is idiotic and ignorant. It’s also completely shut down by his decision to check himself into rehab. Nevermind the fact that in recent years he crashed his Bentley while drunk and received a DUI. It seems to be somewhat of a pattern.

At the end of the day it seems as though there aren’t any major checks and balances in place to deal with this sort of issue. If it was a mid card fighter, or someone fighting on the prelims the outcome would most likely be very different. This is Jon Jones though. One of the biggest revenue producers in the UFC and after a rough fiscal year for the Zuffa, LLC owned commodity they can’t afford to lose another pay-per-view draw.

Dana White came out saying that they are worried about Jon Jones the human being, but he only said that after the fight had taken place and they all got paid.If there was genuine concern for Jon’s well being why wait until after the fight to release the news? Even if your hands where tied and you had no way to prevent the fight, go public and pressure him to get the help he needs.

It’s not a mystery that athletic commissions and fight promotions are sometimes corrupt, but it’s difficult to find a greater example than this. It’s a blatant conflict of interest. The NSAC is financially impacted in a major way if they decide to postpone or cancel the fight due to the test. So, it’s in their best interest to find their way around it and get everyone paid. It makes you wonder though, if Jon Jones went into cardiac arrest in training camp or during the fight what would the repercussions be for the UFC, NSAC, and the sport of MMA as a whole? According to Dana White and the NSAC’s statements it would lead you to believe that their would be none. Their hands were tied.

If that is truly the case, it’s probably time for some changes in what is considered in competition and out of competition. Maybe revisiting the list of banned substances is in order as well. If the in competition drug tests come back clean it appears that Jon Jones is free to move forward as though nothing happened. He will retain his belt and bonus. Surely it will affect him for some time in the media, but it will pass. Mike Tyson and Floyd Mayweather were convicted of doing much worse things and are still held up on a pedestal. If Jones’ get’s his life on track, this will just be a piece of a much bigger story.

The story of the greatest fighter of all time.


About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.