I’m sure we’ve all heard about Jon Jones testing positive for cocaine metabolites, yada yada… At this point, I’m not terribly interested in the soap opera aspect of MMA, but there were some interesting developments on the back of this TMZ style story.
The “out-of-competition” coke vs weed double standard certainly comes to mind, but that pretty much speaks for itself, so let’s talk about the real issue… Namely, Dana White and the UFC’s response to the failed test. First came the official statement released by the UFC, followed by Dana’s comments (below).
We support UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ decision to enter a drug treatment facility to address his recent issue. 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.
I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility. I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.
My reaction to these comments was very much like Joe Rogan’s when he heard the news.
So here’s the problem… Not only has the UFC failed to punished Jones, they’ve doted praises on him. “We support him” , “We applaud him” , “We commend him” , “I’m proud of him” – I’m not trying to quote mine here, but seriously, did all that really have to be said? Can’t they just say, we support Jon Jones in this tough time, etc. I understand they want to back their guy, after all, he’s pretty much their only guy with GSP and Anderson out for so long (ppv wise), but they’re laying it on a bit thick this time… Look, it’s not like I’m in favor of being strict on athletes, that’s the UFC’s policy, and I just want a little consistency. I mean, guys have been released for cracking bad jokes on twitter in the past. Of course, I realize it’s all about the money, he’s a huge draw, etc.
The yada yada aside, there was actually an interesting speculative development surrounding this situation. If you haven’t really followed the story, here’s the short version.
– Oct 1, 2014: Lorenzo Fertita announces that the UFC has instituted in-house random drug testing for all their athletes. (On UFC Tonight)
– Dec 4, 2014: Jon Jones tests positive for cocaine metabolites (unreported at the time)
– Jan 1, 2015: Dana White announces that the UFC will no longer be doing in-house testing of their athletes (UFC 182 pre-fight media scrum)
– Jan 3, 2015: Jones defeats Cormier (on ppv)
– Jan 5, 2015: Jones checks himself in to a drug rehabilitation clinic (Story goes public)
Although there is definitely the Cung Le situation and lawsuit in there to consider, I wonder if this Jones fiasco wasn’t the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of in-house testing. Maybe they wanted all the good PR of cleaning up the sport, without the negative PR landing square on the shoulders of their cash cow champion. Then again, when nobody is hurt or offended, is there even such a thing as bad PR? This story has blown up in a big way, even on mainstream media. Based on how things have played out, there could very well be some shady dealings surrounding this situation…
Nate Diaz certainly isn’t impressed.
Shinya Aoki ushers in the new year by submitting Yuki Yamamoto with a beautiful twister, in under a minute…