Jon Jones issues statement after UFC 232 move, test abnormality: 'I'm a clean athlete'


In the wake of today’s surprise announcement that UFC 232 has been moved from Las Vegas to California after an “atypical finding” in a Jon Jones drug test, the former champ has issued a statement.

Jones (22-1 MMA, 16-1 UFC), who fights Alexander Gustafsson (18-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) in the UFC 232 main event, and who is coming off a 15-month suspension for a failed drug test – his second – said he’s “a clean athlete,” and that has been proven by drug testing.

“I am focused on achieving my ultimate goal of reclaiming my light heavyweight title,” the statement from Jones, released to MMAjunkie today, reads. “I have willingly submitted to every USADA test in the lead up to this fight, and USADA has confirmed what I’ve been saying all along, that I’m a clean athlete. I sincerely thank the California State Athletic Commission and Andy Foster for doing the right thing and supporting me through this process. I cannot wait to fight Alex Gustafsson this Saturday, Dec. 29 at The Forum in Inglewood.”

Jones subsequently tweeted out the statement, as well.

UFC 232 was supposed to take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday with a main card on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass. It now will take place at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., near Los Angeles, instead.

A drug test admininstered by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency on Dec. 9 found a trace amount of Chlorodehydromethyltestosterone (DHCMT), or turinabol, in Jones’ system. Jones tested positive for that same substance in 2017 after he won the title back from Daniel Cormier at UFC 214. He received a 15-month suspension from USADA, which was negotiated after he agreed to give the organization asisstance in other cases.

His suspension ended earlier this fall, clearing him for the UFC 232 rematch against Gustafsson for the 205-pound title currently held by Cormier. Cormier is scheduled to be stripped of the title after a winner is declared Saturday, at which time he will be only the heavyweight champion and no longer a dual champ.

The fight was moved from Las Vegas to California, ostensibly because the NSAC does not have proper time during a holiday week to investigate the details of Jones’ test in order to clear him to fight. But the CSAC is familiar with Jones’ prior positive test and was willing to approve a license for him to fight. The NSAC has scheduled an evidentiary hearing with Jones in January to determine his status in the state going forward.

UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky said Jones’ positive test is not a USADA violation, but rather the organization believes the test is a “pulsing” effect from the past positive result and not a new ingestion of the substance. Novitzky said the amount of turinabol metabolites in Jones’ system in low “picogram” levels, equating it to if a grain of salt was split into 50 million pieces, and Jones having single and double-digit levels of those picograms.

Jones was the light heavyweight champion until April 2015, when he was stripped of the belt after a hit-and-run accident. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was put on probation, as well as suspended indefinitely by the UFC.

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