Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is feeling a little more optimistic these days following his doping case hearing for UFC 200. He could return in the Octagon as early as July 2017.
USADA announced on Monday that Jones will only be suspended for a year for taken banned substances ahead of his UFC 200 title fight with Daniel Cormier. The decision suggested that Jones unintentionally took the substances by accepting a sexual-performance pill given to him by a teammate. He was deemed “reckless” for not complying with the UFC anti-doping policy.
Jones released a full statement and appears to be happier for not being labeled as a “cheater” for taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Although I was hopeful for a better outcome in the USADA ruling today, I am very respectful of the process in which they allowed me to defend myself. I have always maintained my innocence and I am very happy I have been cleared in any wrong doing pursuant to the allegations made that I had intentionally taken a banned substance. I am pleased that in USADA’s investigation they determined I was “not a cheater of the sport”. Being cleared of these allegations was very important to me. I have worked hard in and outside of the octagon to regain my image and my fighting career and will take these next eight months to continue my training and personal growth both as a man and a athlete. Thank you to all of my fans, teammates, coaches, sponsors and to the UFC for their continued support.
Jones is now eligible to return on July 7, 2017, but he is still facing sanctions from the Nevada Athletic Commission.