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Jon Jones: It’s ‘virtually impossible’ to prove my innocence over latest positive drug test

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“I think my trying to prove any type of innocence is going to be virtually impossible before the fight, because of the controversial image I have.”

Jon Jones is, undoubtedly, one of the most talented and accomplished fighters in UFC history. Yet, despite his unparalleled accomplishments, Jones’ reputation has been marred by a slew of failed drug tests.

The former light heavyweight champion tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2016 and 2017 and was handed two separate suspensions by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

After serving his latest 15-month suspension for having trace amounts of Turinabol in his system, ‘Bones’ recently tested positive for the same banned substance and has been the subject of ridicule on social media.

USADA has ruled that the trace amounts of steroids found in Jon’s latest positive drug test are not enough to warrant a suspension, but the Nevada Athletic Commission have refused to sanction Jones’ rematch against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232. In a last minute move, Ultimate Fighting Championship moved the event from Las Vegas to Inglewood, California when the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) agreed to sanction the fight.

Despite having the support of USADA and CSAC, Jones believes it will be ‘virtually impossible’ to clear his name of any wrongdoing due to his already-damaged reputation.

“I think my trying to prove any type of innocence is going to be virtually impossible before the fight, because of the controversial image I have,” Jones told ESPN in a recent interview. “People are kind of set in what they’re going to believe. I can’t win over many minds before the fight.”

The former pound-for-pound No. 1 doesn’t even think a polygraph test would be enough to declare his innocence.

“Even the scientists that found it, don’t know much about it,” said Jones said. “I’m hearing reports this s--- could live in my system for seven years. I’ve learned to say, ‘You know what Jon? You know in your heart you did nothing wrong.’ If I took another polygraph test and answered the question, ‘Have you ever knowingly put this in your system?’ I could confidently say, ‘No, I never knowingly put this in my system.’ And it would be a true statement.

”I just have to surrender to people’s opinions. I gotta surrender to the ignorance our sport is surrounded by. I gotta surrender to the fact most people will never pick up a book and do homework for themselves. I gotta surrender to it all and say, ‘Listen Jon, you’ve had a controversial career. You’re fun for people to pick at. You’re fun for people to talk about. If you are part of anything that’s not positive, it’s going to be huge news.’

”I have to be 100 percent confident in knowing I didn’t do anything wrong.”

If the metabolites can live in his system for up to seven years, as Jones suspects, the 31-year-old might as well be given a free pass given that he could test positive for trace amounts of Turinabol at any time.

Jones will take on Gustafsson in the UFC 232 main event. The highly anticipated PPV takes place this Saturday, Dec. 29 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.