Oft-stripped former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is less than three weeks away from his highly anticipated rematch with Alexander Gustafsson, but he still had business to take care of with the California State Athletic Commission.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the commission granted him a temporary license, having previously revoked his license and fined him $205,000 after he tested positive for turinabol for his UFC 214 rematch vs. Daniel Cormier, which took place in California.
Jones’ licensing hearing was the final hurdle standing in the way of the former 205-pound champion’s impending return to the cage. His license was previously revoked by the CSAC in a February commission meeting, at which he was also fined $205,000. At that previous meeting, CSAC executive officer Andy Foster said that California would honor USADA’s resolution to the case, which turned out to be a 15-month suspension following arbitration.
Jones’ license is temporary contingent on him putting together a community service plan with the CSAC, after which his license will be fully reinstated. Jones’ proposed plan was to work with youth programs at Gracie Barra gyms in Anaheim and Albuquerque, with the goal of completing his community service by the end of the first quarter of 2019.
In addition, commissioner Martha Shen-Urquidez proposed that Jones enroll himself for 3-4 months of additional drug testing with the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA).
After deliberating with his attorney Howard Jacobs and UFC executive Marc Ratner, Jones was “agreeable in principle” to the proposal but did not formally agree. Jacobs said Jones’ team will explore the ramifications and details of the VADA program before making an official decision.
That’s right, Jones could be enrolled both in USADA and VADA at the same time for a brief period of time, should he choose to do so. If he doesn’t, then there’s no penalty, seeing as VADA is “Voluntary” and not mandatory. CSAC also agreed to pay for additional VADA testing if Jones enrolls.
Jones served a 15-month USADA suspension for what was his second violation of the UFC anti-doping policy, but received a 30-month reduction in his ban by providing “substantial assistance” to USADA. He was stripped (again) of his UFC LHW belt that he won from Cormier, and the third-round KO result was flipped to a no-contest.
For what it’s worth, CSAC executive director Andy Foster said that he believes Jones never intentionally doped, and if he did, “he’s the worst doper in combat sports.”
UFC 232 takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, December 29th. Once Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 is officially underway, Daniel Cormier will no longer be the champion.