Jon Jones has some very direct and unambiguous thoughts about Vitor Belfort and their UFC 152 bout, and he’s finally speaking out.
Jones and Belfort fought on short notice after the cancellation of UFC 151 in 2012, a fight Jones won by submission in the fourth round. However, Jones was nearly submitted by Belfort, who caught him in a tight armbar early in the fight. This fall, it was reported that one of Belfort’s pre-fight drug tests had been flagged for a high level of free testosterone, yet nothing was done by the UFC, and Belfort himself said he got full approval from the organization into the bout.
There hasn’t been much more in the way of comment on the situation from any of the parties, past Belfort’s denial of wrong-doing, but Jones himself let his thoughts out in a new lengthy interview with Ariel Helwani at MMAFighting.com.
“Vitor Belfort was on steroids when I fought him,” Jones said unequivocally during the hour long interview (starting at 45:10 mark of video embedded below). “The UFC was very well aware, way before the fight. They did nothing to penalize him. They let the fight go on knowing that I was fighting a guy on steroids, which is a hazard to my life. What do you do? What do you do?
“I don’t know what I’m going to do about that yet. I haven’t quite spoken to the UFC about [it]. I haven’t brought it up to them yet, but the fans know. It all gets back to what I was saying about just the power of the UFC and this Athletic Commission, eventually something needs to be done about it. I’ll just leave it at that. I will bring it up eventually, I’m just interested in their explanation.
As for Jones’ thoughts on Belfort in particular, he felt even at the time of the fight that something was amiss.
“At his age and where he’s at in his career, I remember at the weigh ins I looked at his abs, and I’m like, ‘dude I’m several years younger than you and you look way tighter than me,'” Jones said. “And I knew I trained pretty hard for that camp.
“Everybody’s always speculated Vitor for being on steroids, but to know that they put me in there with him, knowing that he was on something, it’s really a slap to the face.”
Penick’s Analysis: The UFC is going to have a real issue on their hands here, because this is a straight up call out on their handling of UFC 152. Rightfully so. Of all who could possibly have an issue with the UFC doing nothing about that drug test and allowing Belfort to fight with no consequences, further scrutiny, or sanctions, Jones is at the top of that list. Especially when he and his camp had no knowledge of what was found in Belfort’s system before the fight. It’s a significant problem, and it’s potentially an actionable offense for Jones, as the participant in that fight who had his arm injured by the fighter in question. Obviously Jones is far from a saint, but it’s undeniable that he’s also been wronged by the UFC on a number of occasions, this being perhaps the most egregious.
[Jon Jones art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]