Yesterday, it was discovered that UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones had tested positive for cocaine metabolites during a drug test in December and had voluntarily entered a drug rehabilitation facility. In addition to words of support from the UFC and its president, Dana White, several other entities have chimed in to state their desire for Jones to get the help he needs. Reebok, a Jones sponsor, had this to say to MMA Junkie.
“We commend Jon for taking the necessary steps to address this issue, and we will support him in any way we can. The status of Jon’s relationship with Reebok has not changed”
Meanwhile, the man Jones beat at UFC 182, Daniel Cormier, shared his thoughts.
“I am aware of Jon’s test, and if there is anything to say it is this: there are a lot of people you impact, so please let’s get it together. Good luck on your rehab!”
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t change the result of the fight. It’s more sad than anything.”
“It doesn’t make me feel better to have lost against a guy who was doing drugs.”
“I thought this is a guy who has kids and this guy needs to be a positive light for a lot of people. I don’t really feel like I look at him any differently. I just want the guy to get help and just be like a guiding light for people, to be a positive influence.
You see glimpses of it, like him giving clothes to the homeless on Christmas. You just kind of hope that he can make that how he is all the time.
He makes an impact on a lot of people because of his status. He’s a guy that really impacts people at a whole different level than most guys in MMA. So, with that being said, you would hope that he takes it serious, gets whatever help he needs, and comes out better on the opposite side.”
The executive director of the Nevada state athletic commission, Bob Bennett, said to the L.A. Times that despite the World Anti-Doping Agency’s code not granting the power to suspend a positive result during out of competition testing, the NSAC could still punish Jones:
“The commission will address this [out-of-competition] anomaly. That is an issue we will take up and [fighter discipline] is certainly an option available to the commission.”
“Mr. Jones’ situation is unfortunate. Fortunately, he had the courage and conviction to enter a rehab facility.”
The most interesting piece of Bennett’s talk with the Times is that the NSAC knew of Jones’ positive test prior to the title fight against Cormier this past Saturday, and Bennett believes the UFC was aware as well:
“I work hand-in-glove with the UFC. But that’s a question you’ll have to address with the UFC.”
In addition to the Nevada state athletic commission and possibly the UFC knowing about Jones’ positive test, the nebulous world that is the MMA Twittersphere has seen people claiming to have known about Jones’ alleged drug use for a long time.
For example, Mike DiSabato, founder of Cage Fighter athletic gear (a sponsor of Daniel Cormier), tweeted back on December 29th that Jones “likes cocaine.”
And on December 30, Deadspin published a piece by Greg Howard about how Jon Jones is great, during which, Jones told Howard that he’s been straight-edge for a long time, even though he was currently drinking, had been charged with a DUI for crashing his car in 2012, and apparently thanked the Lord for hiding a nickel bag of weed in a sock drawer. In a follow-up, Howard said that he’d heard rumors of Jones’ cocaine usage:
This doesn’t come out of nowhere. In reporting this story, I heard a lot of rumors about Jones’s cocaine use, some of which went past what you’d expect of a rich young celebrity in 2014. I left those alone partly because it’s a long way from rumor to solid fact and partly because, as evidenced by his success, whatever he’s been up to late at night hasn’t hurt his athletic performance much. This is worth noting just by way of saying that this is more likely than not something that actually could affect his career, as opposed to the result of one night’s bad decision. Just a few minutes ago, I got this text from a source close to Jones: Can’t believe it took this long for jon to pop on coke.
During the recording of his podcast, Joe Rogan found out about Jones’ situation and basically flipped out:
Finally, while obviously not an indictment on Jones, back in May 2014, Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta sat down with Jon’s manager, Wayne Harriman to work out some contractual issues. Harriman’s involvement is significant here because he was allegedly involved with cocaine smuggling as recently as 2010:
Wayne Harriman was among 16 defendants who pleaded guilty before trial in 1994 in Las Vegas in a federal drug investigation involving the Buffalo mob. Led by organized crime figure Paul Citelli, the crew that included Harriman was accused of moving more than 400 kilograms of cocaine in the late 1980s through Southern Nevada.
Wayne Harriman appears to have been a bit player in that case, but today he finds himself at the center of a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation in Fresno County, Calif., that has resulted in a criminal complaint charging him with conspiracy to distribute cocaine.
In the Jan. 22, 2010, affidavit filed by DEA Special Agent Kevin Boleky, an undercover investigation found evidence of Harriman’s integral involvement in the drug trafficking activities of Greg Olmos Sr. and Greg Olmos Jr. In the affidavit, Olmos Jr. is described as being “connected with fighters in the mixed martial arts community along with the Hells Angels.” The father and son are alleged to have drug connections with the Hells Angels through Wayne Harriman, according to the document.
It’s an interesting tidbit to a story that is still unfolding.