The story of former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones hiding under a cage at JacksonWink MMA to avoid a drug test in 2015 was confirmed by Jones earlier this week, and it has garnered the attention of many in the mixed martial arts community.
From former rival Daniel Cormier to potential future foe Israel Adesanya, the reactions to Jones have not stopped coming, and now UFC President Dana White has given his own. During a media scrum for UFC Fight Island 6 in Abu Dhabi, White was asked about the story and what it could mean for Jones as far as a possible retroactive punishment from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
“They don’t test for marijuana,” said White (video by MMA Fighting). “If what he was worried about was marijuana, they don’t test for marijuana anyway. Well, pre-testing leading up. If it was within the fight window, he would’ve been here and he would’ve got tested anyway by the athletic commission.
“I don’t know anything about that, but unless you’re in competition, they’re not testing for marijuana anyway.”
White is correct in that cannabinoids are only prohibited while in-competition and it has remained this way since the NSAC began operating under the same rules as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in 2013. From 2013 and beyond, the rules regarding marijuana have become even more relaxed if a fighter were to use it out of competition, so—if Jones would have tested positive for marijuana—it is very likely that he would have been just fine.
The issue now may no longer be about Jones’ marijuana usage, but more so about his avoidance of the test altogether. Because this story was simply an unsubstantiated rumor when it first circulated, there was no consequence for Jones to face at the time. However, this admission may pose an issue for Jones considering how the commission has dealt with fighters avoiding drug tests in the past — the infamous Wanderlei Silva punishment is a case in point.
At this time, it does not seem as if Jones will receive a punishment for this revelation as there has been no comment from the NSAC yet.
Jones last competed at UFC 247, where he successfully defended the light heavyweight championship against Dominick Reyes. He would later vacate the title in preparation to go up in weight to compete at heavyweight sometime in 2021.