UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and the UFC have each issued a statement in the wake of reports that Jones tested positive for a cocaine metabolite during a pre-fight drug test and will enter a rehab facility.
The initial news came Tuesday, when Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports first reported that Jones tested positive for the metabolite, known as benzoylecgonine, in a random drug test administered by the Nevada Athletic Commission on December 4, less than a month prior to his fight last Saturday with Daniel Cormier at UFC 182.
A short time after the news broke, Jones released a statement through his attorneys, which read in part:
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.
In the same statement, UFC president Dana White also backed Jones.
"I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility," White was quoted by the UFC statement as saying. "I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is."
It appears unlikely that any additional punishment will be forthcoming for Jones. The Nevada Athletic Commission does not prohibit benzoylecgonine in an "out-of-competition" context. Out-of-competition is defined as the day before or day of a fight:
Re in-vs-out comp. testing timeline, here's what WADA says: http://t.co/Bbx6GlGAqF. In MMA, in-comp typically means day of/before fight.— Luke Thomas (@SBNLukeThomas) January 7, 2015
The commission follows the World Anti-Doping Agency in not banning benzoylecgonine for out-of-competition testing.
Before the news broke, Jones was riding a big wave of momentum, having defended his title for the eighth consecutive time against Cormier.