UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones has revealed that he’s checking into a drug treatment facility just days after he successfully defended his title against Daniel Cormier at UFC 182.
It’s emerged that the 27 year-old tested positive for Benzoylecgonine, the main metabolite in cocaine, during a random drug test by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on December 4th. However, since the drug was not on the banned list for out-of-competition testing he escaped punishment and was still able to compete at this past weekend’s event on pay-per-view.
Jones was later tested again by NSAC at some stage prior to his fight and on that occasion he passed the same test.
Yahoo! Sports received an official statement from Jones today via his attorney which did not mention his cocaine use but did confirm that he was going to be undergoing treatment.
“With the support of my family, I have entered into a drug treatment facility,” Jones said. “I want to apologize to my fiancée, my children, as well as my mother, father, and brothers for the mistake that I made. I also want to apologize to the UFC, my coaches, my sponsors and equally important to my fans. I am taking this treatment program very seriously. Therefore, at this time my family and I would appreciate privacy.”
The UFC also issued a statement after the story broke.
“We support UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ decision to enter a drug treatment facility to address his recent issue. While we are disappointed in the failed test, we applaud him for making this decision to enter a drug treatment facility. Jon is a strong, courageous fighter inside the Octagon, and we expect him to fight this issue with the same poise and diligence. We commend him on his decision, and look forward to him emerging from this program a better man as a result.”
Dana White also spoke up in support of the troubled fighter.
“I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility,” White said. “I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.”
This story will send shockwaves around the MMA world at a time when many were debating whether or not the 205lb champion was now the greatest fighter of all time in the sport after his latest victory.
Jones made his debut in the UFC back in 2008 and quickly became a star inside the Octagon while striving to maintain a squeeky-clean persona outside of it.
However, as his fame grew the cracks began to show and in May of 2012 he was arrested for Driving While Intoxicated after crashing his Bentley Continental GT, with two female companions inside, into a telephone pole in the early hours of the morning in upstate New York.
As time has gone on he’s began to embrace his more controversial side, as was clearly demonstrated with his brawl with Cormier at a press conference at the MGM Grand back in August of last year, and his private interactions with his rival afterwards which were caught on camera and suggested that he had no remorse for what had happened despite what he was saying publicly.
Even after their fight ended at the weekend Jones still refused to bury the hatchet with his opponent, stating on the post-fight show on FOX Sports 1 that he hoped that he hoped Cormier was, “somewhere crying right now.”
Jones gave no indication of his drug issues post-fight on Saturday night, but it’s perhaps telling that during the FS1 interview he mentioned that he was looking for his new motivation and intended to re-dedicate himself to the sport by training all-year round rather than taking time off in-between fights.