The UFC is about to get back into the Jon Jones business.
After over a year of ambiguity, Jon Jones will be eligible to fight on October 28, 2018.
The United States Anti-Doping Policy (USADA) released a statement on Wednesday night announcing Jones’ reinstatement.
According to the statement, “This decision comes after the facts of the case were presented and fully argued at an evidentiary hearing on September 15, 2018.”
Jones was flagged for a USADA violation shortly after defeating Daniel Cormier for the light heavyweight title at UFC 214, in June of 2017. UFC 217 was Jones’ return from a yearlong USADA suspension, stemming from a failed drug test prior to UFC 200.
Jones’ suspension retroactively began on July 28, 2017. Due to the most recent violation being a second offence, Jones 31 faced the possibility of a 4-year suspension.
USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart stated, “The independent arbitrator found that Jon Jones was not intentionally cheating in this case, and while we thought 18-months was the appropriate sanction given the other circumstances of the case, we respect the arbitrator’s decision and believe that justice was served.”
Officially, Jones received a 30-month suspension reduction, in exchange for providing “assistance” to USADA. The arbitration statement also reveals that Jones used recreational drugs such as cocaine through 2017; Jones entered a rehab faculty to seek treatment.
In his absence, Daniel Cormier has defended the light heavyweight title, while also capturing the heavyweight title.
In the wake of the news, Cormier stated that he has moved past his rivalry with Jones, and is focused on his announced but unscheduled fight with Brock Lesnar. On UFC tonight Cormier stated, “Why would I look back? Why would I look back to Jones now when I’ve got a fight?
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 20, 2018
Despite speculation that Jones will fight at UFC’s upcoming card at Madison Square Garden in November, UFC president Dana White indicated that Jones would not be on the card.
I told Dana White the obvious assumption everyone is making is Jon Jones will headline MSG on 11/3. He replied, “not true.”
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 20, 2018
Jones released a statement via Instagram:
View this post on Instagram
It’s difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation. I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch of my life. It has meant the world to me and always will. But now is the time to shift the focus front and center to the road ahead. Greatness is what I’m chasing and the path to reclaiming my throne is now officially open. Comeback Season begins now