LAS VEGAS — In the wake of Jon Jones' failed test for cocaine metabolites, social media lit up with discussion over Jones' curious testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratios.
Victor Conte, the man who was famously involved with the BALCO doping scandal, took to social media to note that Jones' T/E ratio was out of line with the norm.
Avg T/E ratio references. Asians .76 to 1, whites 1.2 to 1, blacks 1.3 to 1. @ufc Jon Jones 3 T/E tests were .29 to 1, .35 to 1, .19 to 1.— Victor Conte (@VictorConte) January 7, 2015
Mixed martial arts journalists like Bloody Elbow's Brent Brookhouse began pushing for the Nevada commission to perform Carbon Isotope Ratio testing on Jones' samples from the December 4 and December 18 drug tests:
Luckily, this is a situation where speculation could quickly be ended. Jon Jones' drug test samples still exist and a simple Carbon Isotope Ratio test could be conducted to find the result. Put simply, a CIR test would be able to determine if the testosterone in Jones' system was synthetic or natural.
But during a Thursday interview with Bleacher Report, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett said that carbon isotope testing was indeed done on Jones' pre-fight drug tests, and that the results came back clean.
"CIT testing was done, and according to our doctor, none of the results were a concern," Bennett said when asked if carbon testing was done on the samples.
The CIR tests were conducted recently and results were returned to the commission on Thursday.
Bennett said that three tests were done during each of the random tests: urine, blood testing for human growth hormone and a blood passport test.
"The only negative was testing positive for cocaine metabolites," Bennett said. "We've gotten a litany of emails about the testosterone. We have a doctor we work with whose work has been impeccable for the last seven months. He does not have a concern on the last two tests."
Bleacher Report injury expert Will Carroll says that CIR testing would have revealed if Jones were taking exogenous (synthetic) testosterone.
"CIR (carbon isotope ratio) testiing is a very technical technique that is very sensitive. Given the proper isotopic signatures, the test can very accurately detect the presence of a certain substance. In this case, that substance would be exogenous (non-natural) testosterone," Carroll said. "Given proper testing protocols, the test itself is unassailable. It wouldn't tell us anything else, but would be definitive for whether Jones was given testosterone in the time immediately preceding his fight.
"What CIR wouldn't tell you is whether any other substance was present. In most cases, CIR is done after a T/E ratio test. The T/E ratio is simple and cheap and when it gives a bad result, the normal protocol is to do the more accurate CIR testing. I have to assume that other substances would be tested for as part of the normal assay."
Bennett said the commission is awaiting results of the post-fight drug test administered to Jones after his win over Daniel Cormier at last Saturday's UFC 182 event, and that carbon isotope ratio testing will be done on those samples as well. Bennett expects those results to be returned in the next few days.
He also noted that the commission will be discussing Jones' issues during a Monday meeting in Las Vegas and that punishment for Jones is an option on the table despite Jones' failed cocaine metabolites test happening out of competition.
Bleacher Report has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for all of Jones' pre-fight drug test results—including results of the carbon isotope testing—and we'll update this story with more information once we receive them.
All quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.