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Jon Jones’ disastrous CSAC testimony is a bad sign for his USADA case

Whether it was admitting his manager forged his signature, or confessing to lying on doping control forms, Jon Jones’ drug testing testimony was one giant mess.

Interim UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones Press Conference Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones ultimately received a $205,000 fine and had his license revoked by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) for his use of Turinabol on Tuesday, but not before he and his team gave some disastrous testimony.

The hearing started with testimony from the CSAC’s chosen expert, Dr. Daniel Eichner from the Wada-accredited SMRTL lab in Salt Lake City. Dr. Eichner testified that it’s not possible to conclude whether or not Jones’ use of Turinabol was intentional, when it was taken, how much was taken, or how often it was taken, due to there being no controlled excretion study performed on the substance.

Jones’ case seemed to hinge on a report by Dr. Paul Scott of Korva Labs. Dr. Scott’s report concluded that Jones’ use of Turinabol was likely unintentional. The commission asked Dr. Scott if he agreed with Dr. Eichner’s statements, which he did.

Things took a turn for the ridiculous when Dr. Scott admitted that he based at least some of his knowledge of how much Turinabol a person would use on things he read on a bodybuilding website provided by Jones’ attorney Howard Jacobs. Dr. Scott assumed that Turinabol would show up in his sample for longer than it actually did if Jones had been using it to enhance performance. Dr. Scott was asked how much Turinabol someone would take if they were enhancing performance. Dr. Scott said that would normally be expressed as mg/kg, but he did not know Jon Jones’ weight, didn’t look up his weight, and that he gleaned the information about how it is used from people who use it unlawfully.

That suggests Dr. Scott based his assumption that small amounts of Turinabol wouldn’t enhance performance on the fact bodybuilders online say they take more than that. He stated he researched Turinabol for four hours as part of this case, and was paid $395 an hour for his work.

Dr. Scott was ultimately forced to admit that there was a great deal of uncertainty around his conclusions, that there was no way to tell how much Turinabol Jones took from the results of tests or other information that he had, and that his conclusion relied on several unsupported assumptions.

Soon it was time for Jon Jones to take the stand, and things went from bad to worse for him and his team at this point.

Jones claimed that after his first failed USADA test, he started taking his anti-doping responsibilities more seriously, and hired a nutritionist--the wife of his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach--to help with his diet and check his supplements. So far, so good.

Then Jon claimed all of the supplements his nutritionist has him take now are USADA approved. The only problem with that is USADA doesn’t approve supplements. There are no USADA approved supplements. Jones would repeat this claim several times.

Martha Shen-Urquidez was on the panel and asked several probing questions about Jones’ honesty. She brought up his past brushes with the law and then focused in on his declarations on his USADA doping control forms.

On each doping control form (DCF) is a section that requires athletes to list all medications and supplements, prescription and over-the-counter, that they have taken recently. They also have to sign a declaration that the above information is complete and correct.

Shen-Urquidez pointed out to Jones that on the DCF he filled out at the time of his first failure ahead of UFC 200, he wrote that he had taken no medications or supplements. Jones would of course go on to claim his test failure was caused by what he thought was a male enhancement pill, but he never disclosed taking that pill on his form.

Jones spoke about how he took things more seriously after his first failure, which prompted Shen-Urquidez to drop the bomb: On Jones’ most recent DCF, he listed seven supplements, but he subsequently went on to have 17 tested, suggesting he took ten supplements that he didn’t list. Jones didn’t have a great explanation for this, though his attorney later seemed to suggest it was due to the form only asking for supplements taken in the last two weeks.

While talking about why he failed his first USADA test and what lessons he had learned, Jones said that at the time of the test he had no idea a male enhancement pill could cause him to fail a drug test and that he had never spoken to anyone at USADA or had any education about supplements before he failed his test. That was the wrong answer.

Shen-Urquidez jumped on this, pointing out that Jon Jones signed a document stating he had completed USADA’s online training about drug testing and supplements before his failed test. Jones admitted he never took the test, and that his manager forged his signature on the document. It wasn’t clear from Jones’ answers, but it doesn’t appear he has completed that training even now, as he made no mention of doing so and still professed to be ignorant about PEDs.

Jones was then asked if he has considered changing his management. He turned to his manager, Malki Kawa, and says he has… then follows it up by saying he was joking. The panel wasn’t joking. Jones admitted his manager forged his signature and let him abdicate his responsibilities. He indirectly blamed a lack of education for his first failed USADA test - education he didn’t have because his manager forged his signature on a document saying he had undergone that education.

Near the end of the hearing, the panel said that “people around” Jones have enabled him in ways he shouldn’t be enabled. They seemed to imply that Jones should show that has changed when he comes before the panel for re-licensing by changing the people around him; meaning his management team.

If this is the case Jones’ team presents to USADA, I don’t see how they don’t get the full four-year punishment or something very close to it. None of the claims presented on Tuesday would seem to count as mitigating factors that could reduce his suspension length.

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