Disappointment was the consensus emotion as UFC President Dana White and UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky held a media scrum at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas shortly after the two were informed of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation by light heavyweight champion Jon Jones before his UFC 214 win over Daniel Cormier.
“It's unbelievable,” White said. “These never come at a good time. They're always bad, especially with somebody like Jon Jones. Wherever you sit in MMA, in my opinion, he's the best to ever do it. The best ever. That makes it even more unfortunate.”
Jones’ potential violation stemmed from an in-competition sample collected following the weigh-in for UFC 214 on July 28. The 30-year-old would go on to regain his 205-pound title with a third-round knockout of Cormier.
At the moment, there has been no decision made regarding Jones’ status as champion, as the New Yorker has the right to respond regarding the matter.
“Jon is afforded due process rights and those will be carried out in the coming months,” said Novitzky, who did not reveal the substance involved in the potential violation, but did note that with Jones already having one penalty under the system, if found guilty, the penalty for a second violation would be severe.
“Jon definitely has one penalty under the system, so the second penalty, if it were to come to that, basically doubles the amount of the first,” he said. “So for a specified substance, which are your non-steroid substances, those would usually be a year the first time and it's going to be two years for a second offense. The non-specified, which would be your harder substances - steroids, growth hormones, blood doping products - the first time would be two years, the second time would be potentially four years.”
Novitzky did note that mitigating or aggravating circumstances could reduce or increase penalties should Jones – or any athlete – be found in violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
Cormier, currently on vacation in Hawaii, was notified by White of the news.
“He couldn't believe it either,” said White. “He felt the same way I did.”