Even if the worst happens and USADA finds that Jon Jones intentionally ingested a performance-enhancing drug to assist him in his now-junked fight with Daniel Cormier, this is barely the end for the talented former champ.
Jones tearfully insisted he’d never cheat. Jones requested the B blood sample would be analyzed Thursday.
Jones did not say what material he’s alleged to have tested positive for, just that it was a banned substance.
If it’s uncovered Jones took a supplement that is tainted, it’s likely he’d get a six-month suspension, as happened to Yoel Romero and Tim Means. Jones knowingly took a PED and if, though, USADA discovers it was more nefarious, he’d confront a two-year suspension.
It would be devastating but in no way career-ending.
It would all but stop the competition with the 37-year old Cormier. He may no longer be active, or wouldn’t need to go through with another saga with Jones.
Cormier spoke passionately on Wednesday, less than an hour after he learned of Jones’ alleged test that was positive. And he conceded the endless fights with Jones over the previous two years have taken a toll on him.
“It ’s really hard to reply, but I’ve got to move forward, ” Cormier said. This chapter in my life has been dragging me and trailing me and making me awful. That’s not me usually.”
So if Cormier were still active at 39, he’d need to determine whether he would need to put himself through all the negative emotions he’s survived since the middle of 2014, when it was declared he’d fight with Jones at UFC 178.
That fight was scrapped and they ultimately fought at UFC 182 on Jan. 3, 2015 (a fight Jones won by unanimous decision). It came after Jones tested positive for cocaine a month before the fight and after they brawled in the lobby of the MGM Grand following a news conference.
It’s not difficult to see the impact Jones has upon Cormier, and it’s not good.
So if the worst occurs for Jones and he’s suspended for two years, it’s a good chance we have seen the last of him against Cormier.
But bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is living proof a number of years away from the Octagon doesn’t mean a death note to one’s career. Cruz was blighted by a string of devastating, injuries that were major, and he fought only once in four years as a result of it. But he returned and edged the great T.J. Dillashaw in January to win the championship.
Jones can come back and compete at the top of the sport in the occurrence he’s tagged with a two-year prohibition.
He hasn’t shown anywhere near the commitment or the discipline that Cruz has shown throughout his career. He’s been in and out of trouble for years, although Jones is a magnificent talent who may be the finest fighter in the history of MMA.
Cruz used his time off to improve. He analyzed the sport attentively and it has made him a better fighter. He also trained and worked to improve his abilities.
Jones would need to do the same thing in order to return and be a semblance of the dominant fighter he is now.
With no seven-figure pay check to inspire him, will he continue to train, will he still get up early to run, will he head to the gym to drill and spar with his teammates?
He’d seemingly done everything right in the wake of his hit and run accident last year in Albuquerque, N.M. He hired a noted publicist, Denise White, an expert in disaster management.
He was a different man after the Albuquerque hit and run.
His coaches raved about the manner he worked in camp, and said he was in better condition and prepared at UFC 200 for Cormier than he had ever been.
What we don’t understand is troubling. Did he knowingly take a PED because he wasn’t certainly he would be in precisely the same shape as he had been? When he was lackluster in a win against Ovince Saint Preux, he fought in his return to competition on April 23.
Per USADA, the possible breach was found in a random, out-of-competition test on June 16. Cormier called him a middle-aged man because of the partying lifestyle he led.
So the question will be how it got in Jones’ body. And that’s simple: It was through a willful ingestion of a drug that is prohibited or through a tainted supplement.
That finding will determine the punishment.
His future will be determined by himself.
He can do it, if Jones wants to become champ again, if he’s seriously interested in regaining his place in the sport’s hierarchy. He need just to take a look at Cruz came back to become champion again.
Crisis management specialist or not on his side, that is certainly a substantially more difficult question to answer.