A positive cocaine test result didn’t stop Jon Jones from fighting, and neither will a fuller review of the case by the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
On Saturday, the UFC announced it fined light-heavyweight champion Jones $25,000 for testing positive for cocaine, but stopped short of suspending the organization’s top-ranked pound-for-pound fighter.
The UFC said Jones violated its athlete code of conduct with the Dec. 4 positive test by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which was revealed later that month, days before Jones (21-1) successfully defended his belt for the eighth consecutive time, with a unanimous-decision triumph over Daniel Cormier at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Jan. 3.
The fine money will be donated to a substance abuse prevention program, the UFC announced.
After Jones committed to enter a facility, UFC President Dana White praised his star fighter for addressing his problem, but Jones’ mother told a New York television station that her son spent only one night in the facility.
In its statement released Saturday on its website, the UFC said it “came to this decision after reviewing the facts surrounding the issue, and after receiving confirmation from the Nevada Athletic Commission that Jones passed all required drug tests following his bout at UFC 182 on Jan. 3.”
Jones received a $50,000 fight-of-the-night bonus for his victory over Cormier, receiving scores of 49-46 by all three judges.
The Nevada commission didn’t stop Jones-Cormier, executive director Bob Bennett said afterward, because the commission follows the World Anti-Doping Agency code, which stipulates that a positive out-of-competition test for a street drug does not warrant a suspension, as a positive sample for a performance-enhancing substance would.
The commission agreed at a meeting last week to form a committee to review whether following that policy for fighters is proper.
Jones, meanwhile, is awaiting the winner of the Jan. 24 Alexander Gustafsson-Anthony Johnson fight in Stockholm, Sweden, for a likely July pay-per-view bout back in Las Vegas.
Gustafsson, at a lunch this week in Los Angeles, objected to the UFC’s handling of Jones as lenient.
“It’s really bad for the sport, bad for the organization,” Gustafsson said. “He’s a role model, and if he doesn’t suffer consequences, people [will] think it’s OK to do coke.”