UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine the month prior to his UFC 182 title fight with Daniel Cormier. Jones submitted a sample in early December, and the results came back positive shortly before Christmas.
The widely-regarded greatest mixed-martial artist on the planet, whom some regard as the greatest in the young sport’s history, has checked himself into a rehabilitation facility. Despite performance-inhibiting drugs overturning victories from everyone from Mike Tyson to Nick Diaz in combat sports, Jones’s victory over Cormier stands because the Nevada State Athletic Commission regards it as an “out of competition” test.
“I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility,” UFC President Dana White said in a statement. “I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.”
The light-heavyweight champion instigated a fight with opponent Daniel Cormier at a pre-fight press conference and sounded unlike himself in several interviews leading up to the fight. Whether that stemmed from substance use or from the heightened emotions surrounding his grudge match with Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier remains unclear.
Jones also advanced a story that the skirmish with Cormier in the lobby of the MGM grand forced Nike to kill his endorsement deal with the company. Jones conceded in answering a question posed by Breitbart Sports last week that the story provided to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and the media wasn’t true.
“Nike did not drop me because of that fight. I kind of owe an apology to Nike for saying that they dropped me because of the fight. They actually didn’t,” Jones told Breitbart Sports on the UFC 182 conference call. “The truth is that Nike didn’t seem that they wanted to move forward in the field of MMA.”
Despite the personal problems endured by Jones, he put on a signature performance against Daniel Cormier at UFC 182. Cormier had his moments in the second round, but the champion showed himself so by outwrestling the Olympic wrestler and through the use of a superior clinch game, both areas where prognosticators imagined that his opponent enjoyed an edge. Jones vaguely acknowledged past immaturity in his postfight interview on Fox Sports 1 and vowed to dedicate himself to training even in his “offseason” in the future. Those plans appear on hold with his stay in rehab.
“We support UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ decision to enter a drug treatment facility to address his recent issue,” the UFC explained in a statement. “While we are disappointed in the failed test, we applaud him for making this decision to enter a drug treatment facility. Jon is a strong, courageous fighter inside the Octagon, and we expect him to fight this issue with the same poise and diligence. We commend him on his decision, and look forward to him emerging from this program a better man as a result.”