CSAC reschedules Jon Jones' steroids hearing for early 2018

It’ll be a while longer before the California State Athletic Commission decides Jon Jones’ fate.

Jones, whose original hearing for his doping case was set for Dec. 12 in Sacramento, has been granted a continuance, CSAC executive office Andy Foster told MMAjunkie on Tuesday. While Foster was unable to give a specific date for the rescheduled hearing, he said it would occur “early next year” at the commission’s first meeting of 2018. Foster gave late February/early March as a time frame.

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) originally was flagged for a potential doping violation Aug. 22 for an out-of-competition sample collected ahead of his UFC 214 title fight with Daniel Cormier. Jones’ B sample also tested positive.

As a result, the CSAC, which regulated the July 29 headliner at Honda Center in Anaheim, overturned Jones’ TKO win to a no-contest. The UFC, in turn, stripped Jones of the light heavyweight belt and reinstated Cormier as champion.

The failed drug test marked Jones’ second in two years. In 2016, he failed a test at UFC 200, which canceled his title-unifying main event with Cormier. Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. He used that defense during arbitration with U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension for negligence.

Jones, who had denied knowingly cheating, is headed for arbitration again with USADA. If found guilty this time, he faces up to a four-year ban.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC champ Daniel Cormier names Volkan Oezdemir as next title challenger

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So much for due process.

Newly re-crowned light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) is moving on from Jon Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) and lining up his next fight. Apparently, he’s cutting out the UFC’s matchmaking middlemen too.

Cormier announced today that he’s conducted a poll, and the surging Volkan Oezdemir (15-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) is the opponent fans want to see (via Twitter):

In theory, Cormier’s schedule would be held up by the resolution of his saga with Jones. The now-former champ has yet to resolve his case with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, and the California State Athletic Commission, which overturned his knockout win over Cormier at UFC 214 when a failed steroid test was confirmed.

Cormier urged fans to give Jones due process, and even told them to let up after his “B” sample delivered bad news. But with the ex-champ facing a potential four-year ban, he’s shifting focus to his second reign as champion.

That’s where Oezdemir, who’s No. 7 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light-heavyweight rankings, comes in. The Swiss striking phenom has burst onto the scene at 205 pounds, knocking out top contenders Misha Cirkunov and Jimi Manuwa to get into the title mix. After knocking out Manuwa at UFC 214, he called for a title shot.

Before Jones, who’s still ranked No. 1, popped positive, Oezdemir called out two-time title challenger and No. 5-ranked Alexander Gustafsson to “increase the value of the next title shot” and decide the “real king of Europe.” After a knockout of onetime title challenger Glover Teixeira in May, Gustafsson was the most credible threat to Oezdemir’s No. 1 contender’s spot.

Now, it’s a whole new world. But here’s the thing about those UFC middlemen: They have to send the bout contracts that make your poll official. We’ll see if No. 2-ranked Cormier gets one.

For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Refusing to pile on Jon Jones, Daniel Cormier urges fans to lay off criticism for failed drug test

Daniel Cormier is now going to bat for Jon Jones.

The newly minted UFC light heavyweight champion today thanked fans for their support and urged them not to beat up on Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC), who was stripped of the belt after confirmation of his failed drug test at UFC 214.

“I have never felt so much love,” Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) wrote today on his Instagram account. “It’s crazy because this all happened when I lost. Guys now I call upon you to take a breathe, lay off of Jones. Let him and his team figure out what’s going on and what happened.

“I was down and some may have kicked me but the majority of you showed compassion and love. After the fight Jones showed compassion, regardless of what has happened as humans we must show compassion. Jon is not on this ride alone, remember this man has a family. Let’s respect that. You don’t show ur support for me by hurting others.”

Instagram Photo

After knocking out Cormier in the third round of UFC 214’s headliner, Jones seemed to turn over a new leaf with his longtime rival. He didn’t exit the fight with an obscene gesture or mock Cormier’s tears. Instead, he thanked Cormier for being his biggest foil and motivator.

“He has been a model champion, a model husband, a model father, a teammate, a leader, and I aspire to be a lot more like that man,” Jones said moments after his win. “Unfortunately we were opponents, but outside of that, he is a true champion for the rest of his life.”

That was before both of their lives were completely upended – again – by another Jones failed drug test.

Reeling from his sudden reversal of fortune, Cormier said Jones’ UFC 214 positive was “very emotional” and said he didn’t know what to think anymore about Jones.

“I can’t believe we are going through all of this again,” he said in a prepared statement. “We will see what happens next.”

When the UFC decided to strip Jones of the belt, however, Cormier struck a more critical tone, defending the promotion’s move. He also admitted money was a factor in accepting the belt.

“People will say stuff like, ‘Well, you got handed the belt,’” Cormier said. “He cheated, and the reality is, for me to say I don’t want this title when I was going to be in championship fight anyways, financially it’s just a big difference if I don’t fight as the champion as opposed to fighting for a vacant title. I’m taking the belt.”

Now, Cormier is taking the high road as Jones prepares to mount another defense for why he failed his second USADA drug test. As Jones’ prominent anti-doping attorney Howard Jacobs has indicated, the ex-champ didn’t knowingly ingest any banned substances for UFC 214. It’s the same argument from a failed test at UFC 200, which ultimately led to a one-year suspension.

This time, Jones will need a pretty good defense to keep him from a potential four-year ban from USADA.

Whatever the ultimate verdict, Cormier wants his followers to respect Jones.

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

Mike Winkeljohn defends Jon Jones, doubts he'd fight again after 4-year ban

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What will happen to Jon Jones if he receives the maximum penalty from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency? Nobody knows for sure.

It can’t be a good sign, though, that Jones’ long-time coach, Mike Winkeljohn, isn’t confident he can rebound from such a devastating blow.

“I don’t know,” Winkeljohn told Submission Radio on Thursday. “If it’s a four-year (suspension), I think it could be just that kind of devastation (that stops Jon from coming back) and, which like I said, it’s not fair, you know?”

Jones, who has denied knowingly cheating, came up dirty at UFC 214 after a post-weigh-ins drug test revealed metabolites of the steroid turinabol in his system. As a result, the California State Athletic Commission overturned his July 29 knockout win over Daniel Cormier, who the UFC reinstated as light heavyweight champion.

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) is likely headed to arbitration with USADA in an attempt to clear his name of a second doping violation and faces up to a four-year suspension. Winkeljohn maintains that Jones did not knowingly cheat.

“He messed up in that maybe he took something that someone said was fine, but he’s not doing it thinking, ‘I’m taking steroids’ or something, you know,” Winkeljohn said. “And that’s the part that’s terrible. He’d be devastated at four years. Who knows, you know? Just, that’s just a long time to just spiral downhill, where bad things can happen.

“So that one scares me. If it’s a year, Jon Jones will come back and dominate the world again, I do believe.”

Jones last year failed a test at UFC 200, which canceled his title-unifying main event with Cormier. Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. He used that defense during arbitration with USADA, which stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension for negligence.

In the lead-up to UFC 214, Jones passed out-of-competition urine tests on July 6 and July 7 and also passed a blood test conducted on fight night. USADA, however, cautioned it was too early to draw conclusions since turinabol is detected only in urine. Jones’ failed test took place July 28 after weigh-ins.

Winkeljohn believes negligence is at play again, adding that it’s unfair Jones is already guilty in the court of public opinion.

“Jon Jones had been tested multiple times going through the fight camp,” Winkeljohn said. “He would not do something like that. The problem is the public perception. They think he’s got these needles and shoving steroids in his arms when, don’t get me wrong, I understand Jon has messed up in the past. He’s got caught drinking and driving. He’s done some bad things. He’s done things that are idiotic. But he’s grown up.

“As far as taking steroids, what he’s been busted for is, you know, taking a Viagra Cialis from Mexico that had something in it. That’s not steroids, but it came up that way. And if I had to guess, it’s going to come out that there’s been something that he took to re-hydrate himself after his cut or somewhere in that style, that time that was some kind of – what do I want to say – some kind of substance that he thought was just a supplement, that someone said, ‘Hey, this will make you feel better. It’s got electrolytes in it and stuff.’

“But it was tainted. And everybody thinks, ‘Yeah, that’s just an excuse.’ But, no, really, that’s it. That’s what it’s going to be.”

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jon Jones on failed UFC 214 drug test: 'I would never do steroids'

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Jon Jones has finally spoken out – in the form of a tweet.

Jones, who failed a drug test after weigh-ins for his UFC 214 knockout of Daniel Cormier, responded to one of his follower’s asking him to “just tell the truth.” Jones’ response was a staunch denial.

“Dude the truth is I would never do steroids, I put that on my children and I put that on my Heavenly Father”

Jones’ response all but confirms what we already knew: that he’s headed for arbitration with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in an attempt to clear his name after metabolites for the steroid turinabol were detected in his urine during a post-weigh-ins test administered July 28.

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) originally was flagged for a potential doping violation Aug. 22; his B sample also tested positive. As a result, the California State Athletic Commission, which regulated the July 29 headliner at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., overturned Jones’ win to a no-contest. The UFC, in turn, responded by stripping Jones of the light heavyweight belt and reinstated Cormier as champion, a decision Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) believes was “the right thing to do.”

Jones last year failed a test at UFC 200, which canceled his title-unifying main event with Cormier. Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. He used that defense during arbitration with USADA, which stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension for negligence.

If found guilty this time, Jones faces up to a four-year ban.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Daniel Cormier: Jon Jones' failed test for steroids 'a death sentence'

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Daniel Cormier has been down this road before with Jon Jones.

Still, the fact that Cormier is dealing with Jones failing another drug test in connection with one of their fights?

“I think it’s crazy,” Jones said Wednesday on FS1’s “UFC Tonight.” “It’s one of the craziest things.”

Jones (21-1-1 MMA, 15-1-1 UFC) originally was flagged for a potential U.S. Anti-Doping Agency violation Aug. 22 after it was revealed he failed an in-competition at the weigh-ins for his UFC 214 title win over Cormier (19-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC). On Tuesday, USADA announced that Jones’ B sample also came back positive for metabolites of the steroid turinabol.

With that information, the California State Athletic Commission, which regulated the July 29 headliner at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., overturned the result to a no-contest on Wednesday. And the UFC, in turn, responded by stripping Jones of the light heavyweight belt and reinstated Cormier as champion, a decision Cormier believes was “the right thing to do.”

So, what’s next for Jones? The now-former champion is entitled to due process just like anyone else. But considering this is Jones’ third failed drug test in connection with one of their fights (including his cocaine infraction), Cormier wonders why the phrase “due process” is even being thrown around.

“USADA is being very straight line, saying ‘due process.’ But the reality is you can’t fail a drug test,” Cormier said. “You can pass a hundred tests; you cannot fail one. And they’re saying we have to wait for the due process, but what are we waiting for? … You cannot test positive for performance-enhancing drugs. It’s unfair. I’m very upset about it.”

That certainly is an understandable sentiment coming Cormier. Also understandable is the likelihood that Jones is headed for arbitration with USADA in an attempt to clear his name.

For his failed test last year at UFC 200, Jones’ explanation was that he took a tainted sexual enhancement pill containing estrogen blockers that work in conjunction with steroids. The defense sort of held up as USADA stopped short of declaring him a cheater, though he was still handed a one-year suspension.

If found guilty this time, Jones faces up to a four-year ban. At age 30, that figures to potentially end his career, which is why Cormier knows Jones will defend himself to the end.

“He has to fight this. This is a death sentence,” Cormier said. “If this does what it says it can be, it’s a death sentence.”

But, again, Cormier can’t see how Jones explains his way out of this one and doesn’t believe he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

“This is a very expensive drug, something that could not be easily found in a supplement,” Cormier said. “I’ve been in the USADA program for 12 years. I’ve never had these issues. If it was a mistake the first time, you’ve got to be more careful. Especially with all the scrutiny that was on him coming back from a suspension, you’ve got to be cautious and careful. To expect people to understand anymore is just ridiculous.”

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Jon Jones stripped, Daniel Cormier reinstated as champion after UFC 214 result overturned

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Jon Jones has been stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title for the third time in his career.

The news was announced today on FS1’s “UFC Tonight” by long-time rival Daniel Cormier, whose knockout loss to Jones at UFC 214 was declared a no-contest by the California State Athletic Commission.

After Jones was first flagged for the banned steroid turinabol, UFC President Dana White said he would crown Cormier the new champion if Jones was suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. But with Jones’ initial failure confirmed by a positive B sample, the promotion made that decision sooner.

“Dana White called me today, and he said if it’s a no-contest then the fight didn’t happen,” Cormier said. “He says, ‘One of you guys would’ve missed weight, and he would’ve won the fight, you still would’ve kept the belt.’ He said, ‘Because of that, the championship is getting returned to you. The fight is a no-contest. If he cheated, he could not have fought and cheated and still won the fight.’ So, once again, I’m the UFC champion.

“Now, people will say stuff like, ‘Well, you got handed the belt.’ He cheated, and the reality is, for me to say I don’t want this title when I was going to be in championship fight anyways, financially it’s just a big difference if I don’t fight as the champion as opposed to fighting for a vacant title. I’m taking the belt.”

Denise White, Jones’ public relations representative, did not initially respond to a request for comment. The UFC also sent MMAjunkie a prepared statement confirming the decision to strip Jones.

“UFC was informed Wednesday that the result of the UFC 214 bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier on July 29 was overturned by the California State Athletic Commission,” read the statement. “The ruling changes the Jones ‘win’ to a ‘no contest’ following a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected after Jones’ weigh-in on July 28, 2017.

“As this was a title bout, Cormier will be reinstated as UFC light heavyweight champion.”

Jones also faces a possible four-year suspension from USADA and additional punishment from the CSAC, which regulated the July 29 pay-per-view event. His team has indicated he will appeal the positive tests, arguing they were the result of a contaminated supplement.

If Jones goes to arbitration, his case could play out over several months.

Cormier defended the UFC’s decision to reinstate him as champ and had pointed criticism for Jones, whom he’s previously accused of knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs.

“He disqualified himself by taking a steroid before the fight,” Cormier said. “So it didn’t happen. I get the belt back, which is the right thing to do. And I’m not only saying that because it’s me. It’s the right thing to do. You don’t cheat the sports, you don’t cheat the fans, you don’t cheat me. You have all the physical advantages, sir. You’re 30 years old, you’re 6-4, you have 85-inch reach. … It’s an unfortunate situation. We had one of the biggest fights of the year, and once again this guy has made a mockery of the sport.”

Jones was first stripped of the title after a hit-and-run accident in April 2015 left a pregnant woman with a broken arm. He reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and received 18 months’ probation.

After fulfilling the terms of his probation, Jones returned to the cage and beat Ovince Saint Preux in a bout for the interim UFC light heavyweight title put up after Cormier was forced to withdraw from UFC 197. Three months later, however, Jones again found himself in hot water when he failed a pre-fight drug test in connection with a title unifier against Cormier at UFC 200.

In November 2016, the UFC stripped him of the interim title after USADA handed him a one-year suspension.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

It looks bad for Jon Jones, but it's not game, set, match just yet

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When Jon Jones’ B sample on Tuesday confirmed the positive steroid test found after UFC 214, many fighters and industry veterans wrote him off.

Game. Set. Match,” was the verdict from former UFC heavyweight and “The Fighter and the Kid” co-host Brendan Schaub.

Except, well, not really.

In the world of anti-doping, it’s extremely rare for a “B” sample to come back different than the initial result. The sample an athlete gives during a drug test is divided into two parts so that if the first sample tests positive, the second can be tested to “confirm” the first result. Barring a massive conspiracy where the second sample is fraudulent, you’re almost always going to get the same result.

So, this is the second step in Jones’ case. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency now has found that on July 28, one day prior to UFC 214, he tested positive for a metabolite of turinabol, a banned substance made famous for its use in an East German doping program (you can read more about it here). But that’s just the start of the process.

Even though Jones’ (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC) win over Daniel Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) was overturned today by the California State Athletic Commission, he is still entitled to due process in the “results management” portion of his case with both CSAC and USADA. He can decide whether to dispute the findings, or accept them and plead for leniency. His reps have all but declared he will do the former, using the same defense he did when a pre-fight drug test revealed the presence of two banned estrogen blockers known to work in tandem with steroids.

In his first run-in with USADA, which stemmed from a failed test at UFC 200, Jones chose to have an arbitrator weigh the facts of his case and decide whether the facts he presented – that he unknowingly broke the rules by ingesting an off-brand sexual enhancement pill tainted with the banned drugs – were strong enough to lessen or eliminate the punishment recommended by the UFC’s anti-doping partner.

After a non-public hearing, he won a partial victory when the arbitrator stopped short of calling him a cheater. But he was still found to be at fault for his negligence in taking the pill in the first place and suspended one year, the punishment USADA recommended initially. The Nevada State Athletic Commission, which regulated UFC 200, followed suit.

The next few weeks – and probably more like the next few months – will be occupied by fact-finding in the Jones camp. They’ll have all of his supplements tested. They’ll forward possible culprits to USADA. And perhaps most importantly, they’ll craft a narrative for why a very old steroid found its way into Jones’ system one day prior to his title fight against Daniel Cormier on July 29.

Jones’ anti-doping attorney, Howard Jacobs, needs a very compelling story to explain how this happened yet again to the 30-year-old fighter, who’s been subject to the UFC’s anti-doping program since it began in July 2015.

There are some potentially meaningful facts in Jones’ second positive. He did pass two tests on July 6 and July 7. He also passed a blood test conducted on fight night, though blood tests don’t screen for the steroid found in his system on the eve of the event.

As UFC VP of Athlete Relations Jeff Novitzky pointed out to Yahoo Sports, the steroid Jones popped for can be detected in the body for up to 60 days, so “it would not be a drug of choice if you had any level of sophistication,” he said.

Given Jones’ past inside and outside of the cage, that’s not a ringing endorsement. Still, Novitzky and USADA are wise to urge caution as the process plays out. More than likely, USADA and Jones will head to arbitration, make their respective cases, and a decision will be rendered.

Because this is Jones’ second potential anti-doping violation, he does not arrive at the negotiating table with a clean slate. The arbitrator will take into consideration his history when deciding his punishment.

Jones faces up to a potentially career-ending four-year ban if the arbitrator upholds USADA’s findings, so the stakes can’t be higher.

It’s hard to argue things look very bad. For many, the idea that Jones is the unluckiest guy in the MMA world strains credulity. More likely is the idea that he’s repeatedly broken the rules.

But until the final decision is handed down, you can’t write him off just yet.

For more on UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

CSAC overturns Jon Jones' title win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214; attorney responds to ruling

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In the wake of Jon Jones’ “B” sample also failing a drug test, the California State Athletic Commission has overturned his win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.

Jones, 30, knocked out Cormier at the July 29 pay-per-view event at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. But the light heavyweight title fight is now considered a no-contest, CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster today told MMAjunkie. The development was first reported by MMAFighting.com.

Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC) faces up to a four-year ban from UFC anti-doping partner USADA after a July 28 drug test found the banned steroid turinabol in his urine. But he also faces a separate punishment from CSAC, which regulated UFC 214 and his fight with Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC).

The CSAC indefinitely suspended Jones and fined him after the “A” sample of his July 28 drug test came back positive on Aug. 22. After the initial finding was confirmed Tuesday by the “B” sample, the fight was ruled a no-contest.

Asked for comment on the confirmation test and CSAC’s ruling, Jones attorney Howard Jacobs provided this statement MMAjunkie: “We only received the notification late last night, after the announcement. We will review the documentation that we have received and continue our investigation, but none of this changes the fact that Jon Jones has never knowingly taken this substance.”

The CSAC will now conduct a hearing to determine Jones’ final punishment. Its next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 17 in Los Angeles.

Jacobs said he had yet to receive any official notification of the CSAC’s decision and did not say what the team’s plan is for an appeal. Foster said the commission will work with the fighter if he needs more time to put together a case.

“I think the commissioners would rather do it right than do it fast,” he said.

It’s unclear where the new development leaves Jones as far as his UFC title. UFC officials told MMAjunkie the promotion is in the process of discussing how the commission’s move affects Jones’ still-pending case with anti-doping partner USADA.

UFC President Dana White, however, recently said Cormier would become champion if UFC anti-doping partner USADA suspended Jones.

Jones, via his reps, have steadfastly maintained his innocence and indicated the positive test stems from a tainted supplement. It’s the UFC champ’s second anti-doping case with USADA after a failed test prior to UFC 200 scratched him from a title unifier against Cormier, which led to a one-year suspension.

For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: Featured, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Twitter reacts to UFC champ Jon Jones' B-sample drug-test failure – and the takes are extra hot

The final boom may have been lowered on Jon Jones’ career on Tuesday when officials announced the UFC light heavyweight champion also had a banned substance in his drug-test B-sample.

Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) was notified of a potential violation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) this past month following his title-winning knockout of Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 in July. It was Jones’ second incident with USADA in two years, the previous of which led to a one-year suspension.

“Bones” and his team have maintained his innocence. He’ll still have an opportunity to prove it during arbitration, but his B-sample also showing a banned substance will be a difficult bit of evidence to overcome.

Jones is still entitled to due process, but the most recent news in his seemingly never-ending saga didn’t prevent fellow fighters from rushing to judgement.

Check below for the top Twitter reactions to Jones’ B-sample results.

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For complete coverage of UFC 214, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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Filed under: Blue Corner, Featured Videos, News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie