Jon Jones held a press conference until he didn’t to address a potential doping violation that knocked him off the UFC 200 card this weekdend.
“The whole situation, it really sucks,” the light heavyweight told reporters. “It really hurts a lot. Supposedly they found something in my sample, I don’t know what it is. I can’t pronounce it. I’m extremely against performance enhancers.”
An emotional Jones walked out of the presser after consulting with advisor Denise White as he shielded his face from the press behind the podium only to return minutes later. A clearly depressed Bones mumbled answers, paused at length in between words, and shed tears.
“I just want to tell him that I’m sorry,” Jones said of his rival Daniel Cormier after wiping away tears. “That’s really it. I know this fight meant a lot to him.”
Jones, who returned from a suspension over legal issues to defeat Ovince St. Preaux earlier this year, headlined UFC 200 with a rematch with Cormier until an eleventh-hour revelation of the dirty test blew up the main event and elevated Brock Lesnar-Mark Hunt atop the card. Cormier currently holds the light-heavyweight belt that his rival wore around his waist for four years.
The current setback followed a DUI accident that wrecked his Bentley in 2012, a positive out-of-competition test for cocaine in 2014, and a 2015 hit-and-run accident that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm and Jones stripped of his light-heavyweight title.
Jones hopes a “B” urine sample comes up clean and he can put the unpleasantness behind him. Should it not, he vows to keep fighting after serving a suspension. He maintains that he never knowingly took an illegal substance.
Suspensions for performance-enhancing drugs under the UFC’s new United States Anti-Doping Agency-administered regime generally run two years. Jones’s camp points to eight clean tests since December. The dirty sample came during an out-of-competition test on June 16. The particular banned substance Jones tested positive for remains a mystery.
The possible doping violation follows suspensions of such high-profile UFC fighters as Frank Mir, Chad Mendes, and Anderson Silva. But Jones ranks as not only the highest-profile fighter to pop positive, but perhaps the all-time greatest practitioner of the young sport. Boasting wins over Rashad Evans, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson, Alexander Gustafsson, Vitor Belfort, and Lyoto Machida, and sporting not a single legitimate loss on his 22-1 record, the athletic and intelligent fighter dominated opponents through unorthodox striking, a reach advantage, sound strategy that focused on winning rather than wowing, and excellent octagon wrestling despite not wielding elite knockout power.
“God has a plan for me,” Jones insisted. “I’m just trying to stay optimistic. I feel like I’ve put in a lot of work to get back to this point. I feel like I have to re-climb the ladder.”