Should Jon Jones be licensed by the NAC to fight Daniel Cormier?

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It looked like Jon Jones might be in trouble again following a drug test that indicated that the MMA fighter had traces of steroid metabolites in his system following his recent fight with Alexander Gustafsson.

Jones, who is the current and three-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light-heavyweight champion won his first UFC World Championship fight eight years ago when he was 23. Pound for pound, many Mixed Martial Art fans and pundits rate him as the best in the world today. His reign has not however been without controversy.

Should Jon Jones be licensed by the NAC

He has only ever suffered one professional MMA defeat. As most MMA devotees will be aware, he lost to Matt Hamill (the first deaf MMA former Ultimate Fighter) on the 5th of December 2009. Although he had clearly won the fight in terms of content, he lost on a disqualification for a 12 to six elbow strike, which is illegal within the sport.

However, many fans and professionals today believe the result to have been based on a poor refereeing decision.

When Jones first burst onto the MMA fight scene, he was like nothing fight fans had ever seen before. He had had little or no MMA training although he had wrestled for his High School and his Community College. When questioned about his somewhat unorthodox style of fighting he responded that he had picked it up by watching videos on YouTube.

He employed a series of unique moves including elbows from weird angles. The 12 to six, which refers to an elbow delivered from a 12 o’clock high straight down through a perpendicular plane to a six o’clock strike point, was the one he was disqualified for, though even today the exact angle of the blow is still hotly debated.

The questionable elbow isn’t the only controversy to have shadowed Jones’s MMA career. He was first stripped of his title in 2015, not because of a fight decision but because he was involved in a hit and run accident. But this wasn’t the end of his misdemeanours.

In 2016, on return from his suspension, he won his title back when he fought Ovine Saint Preux. However, a test by the USADA (Anti-Drugs Agency) after the fight proved positive and he again had his crown taken away.

The positive test result was found to have come from male enhancement pills that Jones had taken. Nonetheless, the US Anti-Doping Agency maintained that Jones had been negligent in taking the drug. He was stripped of his title for the second time and he was suspended again for a year.

In 2017, after beating Daniel Cormier and winning his third world title, Jones was again tested positive for drugs. He was suspended again and his title rescinded for a third time.

So, when Jones had another positive drug test after the Gustafsson fight, it looked like it might be all over for the fighter. Fortunately, there was only a trace of the drug, and it was the same drug that he had tested positive for in 2016, and the trace residue was said to be down to something called “pulsing.”

Jeff Novitzky, the Vice President of Athlete and Health Performance explained that in theory the M3 metabolite can pop up or “pulse” at various times long after it has been taken, particularly when test subjects are losing weight (the test was imposed at the weigh-in) or are involved in a bout of heavy exercise. Because of this, no further action was taken.

Jones is next due to defend his light-heavyweight crown on March 2nd when he takes on Daniel Cormier. This is providing he gets his Nevada Athletic Commission license. After such a colourful career we will have to wait and see.

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