Jon Jones, licensed by CSAC to compete in UFC 232, can participate in additional VADA drug trials



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Jon Jones is officially back.

Jones was given a temporary license to fight on Tuesday at a meeting of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), paving the way to challenge Alexander Gustafsson on December 29 at UFC 232 for what should be UFC light heavyweight .

Jones' licensing hearing was the final hurdle on the way to the impending return of the 205-pound former champion to the cage. His license was previously revoked by the CSAC at a February commission meeting in which he was also fined $ 205,000. At that previous meeting, CSAC Executive Director Andy Foster said California would honor USADA's resolution to the case, which ended up being a 15-month suspension after the arbitration.

Jones' license is temporary, depending on whether he builds a community service plan with the CSAC, after which his license will be fully restored. Jones' plan was to work with youth programs at Gracie Barra academies in Anaheim and Albuquerque to complete their community service by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

In addition, Commissioner Martha Shen-Urquidez proposed that Jones enroll for 3-4 months of additional toxicology tests with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).

"I know you said you're happy that USADA has established that you did not do this intentionally on your last test, and all of that, but you and I both know that there are a lot of people who still have some questions, right? "Shen-Urquidez told Jones.

"They're out there, and it's not just a bit of a doubt, but there are people who have serious doubts about it. So I, for one, would like to put the doubts to sleep and put them down once and for all, and for people to believe in you – that you are talented and that you are the greatest, and that you can win a fight just clean and this is Jon Jones, and put those doubts once and for all. So I have this idea and I will put it there and see if you will agree. "

After deliberating with his lawyer Howard Jacobs and UFC executive Marc Ratner, Jones was "agreeable in principle" to the proposal but did not formally agree. Jacobs said Jones's team will explore the ramifications and details of the VADA program before making an official decision.

Jones is not required to agree to the additional VADA test and can still say no without receiving further penalty.

"I just want to make sure everyone understands what we're saying," Jacobs said. "We are nice in principle. Of course, the devil is in the details. We need to see exactly what we are agreeing on, what VADA is testing, when it comes to testing, what its restrictions are. "

"I would suggest that, in my humble opinion – I am giving my humble opinion at the moment – it is best if Mr Jones voluntarily decides to do this and is not obliged to do so," said CSAC Chairman John Carvelli. "I think Commissioner Martha has made it clear to you what is at stake for you here." "You understand, we really hope you work on it and do it for your own good.

The CSAC will pay for the additional VADA test if Jones agrees to submit to it.

Andy Foster, executive director of the CSAC, defended Jones several times during the hearing and protested against USADA's handling of the case. He advised the commission that the Jones case is the last time the CSAC attributes executive power to the UFC drug testing partner.

"I do not think Mr. Jones is intentionally a doper," Foster said. "I just do not believe it.If he is, he's the worst doper in combat sports.He fails the test that he knows he's coming.

Jones, 31, tested positive for an anabolic steroid metabolite Turinabol in a sample collected the day before his revenge for UFC 214 title against Daniel Cormier, which occurred July 29, 2017 in Anaheim, California – his second drug test over a period of two years. Jones won the knockout fight in the third round, however, the result was subsequently reverted to a non-contest by the CSAC as a result of the positive drug test.

After bringing his case to USADA's arbitration, Jones ended up receiving a reduced 15-month suspension by referee Richard H. McLaren – a decision that proved controversial for many, including Cormier. The suspension was made retroactive to the date of sample collection – July 28, 2017 – and Jones was eligible to fight again from October 28, depending on whether he regained the license in the hands of the CSAC.

As a USADA second-time offender, Jones faced a maximum four-year suspension for his most recent failed drug test, though his suspension was reduced to 15 months "based on substantial aid delivery" in other USADA cases, as well as the fact that Jones went through several out-of-competition drug tests in the 10 months around UFC 214 and just missed the competition test that he knew before the time was coming.

"The independent arbitrator considered that Jon Jones was not intentionally deceiving in this case, and while we think that 18 months was the appropriate sanction given the other circumstances of the case, we respect the referee's decision and we believe that justice has been served," CEO of USED. Travis T. Tygart said in a statement at the time. "This case is another strong reminder that athletes need to be extremely cautious about the products and supplements they use to make sure they are free of banned substances."

Jones had already tested positive for two anti-estrogen agents at an out-of-competition drug test in 2016. This failed drug test forced him out of a marked rematch against Cormier at UFC 200 just days out of the event. An arbitration panel finally handed Jones a one-year suspension in that case. Prior to that, Jones was stripped of his UFC light heavyweight title in 2015 after a felony detention.

Despite his transgressions, Jones (22-1, 1 NC) remains one of the most talented and decorated fighters to compete in mixed martial arts. From March 2011 to January 2015, he won nine consecutive UFC title fights, while successfully defended his light heavyweight title belt eight times in a row. Jones has notable victories over Cormier, Gustafsson, Mauricio Rua, Rashad Evans, Glover Teixeira, Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida. His only defeat, a controversial clash in 2009 against Matt Hamill, came by disqualification.

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