It sounds like Jon Jones’ camp is picking up what agent Malki Kawa was putting down. The man who represents ‘Bones’ went on the record in defense of the former champion in multiple interviews following a press release from anti-doping agency USADA. In it, they drug testing org. claimed that the athlete had received a notably reduced suspension for “Jones’ delivery of substantial assistance.” Or, to put it another way, that he had snitched on someone else violating USADA guidelines.
It was a claim that raised a lot of eyebrows and has led to a lot of parsing of language as to what “substantial assistance” means and whether or not Jones even had to be the one to give it. By USADA accounts, it seems like he does. But, in an interview on the MMA Hour, Kawa muddied the waters
“There was none,” Kawa said of the assistance claim. “But I keep saying that and everybody keeps running with it. Substantial assistance doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be on somebody else. It could have been on himself. People don’t understand. That whole line and all that, I don’t have a lot of clarity on it, I don’t understand it. They said to me, ‘Hey listen, this is how it’s gotta be worded.’ I said, ‘OK, cool.’ I kind of just let it be, because I’m thinking, OK, I don’t really get it, but maybe everybody else doesn’t either. I don’t know.”
And that’s the line of thinking that coach Mike Winkeljohn is running with as well. In an interview with Submission Radio, the man who has helped shape much of Jones’ career in the Octagon made it clear that he couldn’t imagine Jones turning another fighter in.
“Well, I think it will play out,” Winkeljohn said of the ‘snitching’ reports. “I don’t believe he turned in any of his fighters. Same thing that his manager said. If he gave information he’d probably give information on himself. So, if you hate Jon Jones, doesn’t matter what I tell you, you’re gonna continue hating Jon Jones. If you like Jon Jones, you’re gonna like Jon Jones. That’s what I noticed about the social media world how people are. It’s basically, there’s a bunch of idiots out there that can’t think for themselves and just jump on bandwagons and believe what others say. And they’re not willing to dig in and look for the real information. People have a tendency (to be like) ‘I saw it somewhere on the internet so it must be true’.”
“I can definitely believe Jon Jones did not snitch on anybody on our team or anybody else. That’s just not in Jon’s character. I don’t know where that even came from and I haven’t talked to Jon but I do not believe that.”
He also gave his thoughts on the extended timeline of the USADA investigation into Jones’ drug test failure. Most notably, that he finds it difficult to understand how Jones received any suspension at all, considering that the drug testing organization felt Jones was “not intentionally cheating.”
“When I read the words that they said,” Winkeljohn explained, “how there was absolutely no way that it could’ve have been used as a performance enhancement type situation, I thought, well why is he even suspended? It doesn’t even make sense to me.”
Current reports suggest that Jones will return to action against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 in December. The bout would be a rematch of Gustafsson title challenge against the then-champion back in 2013. The fight is considered by many to be the most difficult of Jones’ career, with some even claiming that the Swedish light heavyweight beat Jones on the night. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and notes as the story develops.