Over the last week, UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky has tried to explain Jon Jones’ recent positive test for a trace amount of the same metabolite that resulted in a 15-month suspension after his 2017 bout against Daniel Cormier.
The original explanation was this positive test was residual, staying in his system from the first positive test and shouldn’t be ruled as anything irregular. His latest comments, however, may have caused more confusion than necessarily cleaning the situation up. While speaking on The Joe Rogan Experience, Novitzky explained that the December positive findings wasn’t actually the first time it had shown up in his testing, it was actually the third time.
The Dec. 9 test had a range of 60-80 picograms of the same longterm metabolite (coincidentally the same range that resulted in his latest suspension), but USADA ruled that small amount had no performance-enhancing benefit.
While the Nevada State Athletic Commission certainly had some concerns and wanted to hold a hearing before licensing Jones, the California State Athletic Commission had no problem licensing Jones since it was familiar with his original failed test.
That resulted in the entire UFC 232 card shifting from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. In the days after, fighters like Cris Cyborg have expressed frustration over the sudden move, while Jones’ challenger Alexander Gustafsson has straight up called Jones a cheater.
“Yes, I do (believe he’s a cheater),” Gustafsson told reporters, including MMA Junkie, at the UFC 232 pre-fight news conference. “Yes I do. This guy is not confident. He has to put (expletive) in his body to be confident. That’s all it is.”