Jon Jones has received a one-year suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, a decision stemming from a positive drug test ahead of UFC 200 in July.
USADA announced Monday that the UFC light heavyweight was handed the maximum suspension after he tested positive for two specified prohibited substances, clomiphene and letrozole, in an out-of-competition drug screen on June 16.
In a release, USADA said an independent panel of three arbitrators reviewed the case against Jones on Oct. 31 to determine the punishment based on Jones’ degree of fault. The panel concluded “Jones’ degree of fault was at the very top end of the scale,” resulting in the maximum penalty.
Jones will be eligible to return to action July 6, 2017, one year after the start of his provisional suspension.
The UFC said it is aware of the panel’s decision and USADA’s sanction in a statement: “While the decision indicates no evidence of Jones’ intentional use of banned substances, it does highlight the care and diligence that is required by athletes competing in the UFC to ensure that no prohibited substances enter their system.”
According to the panel’s official decision, Jones contended his positive test resulted from taking a teammate’s Cialis, a medicine used to enhance sexual performance. The panel concluded Jones took a similar drug with the same active ingredient as Cialis, but one that was not manufactured by the company that makes Cialis. Instead it came from a company with standards less rigorous than those required by the FDA, the panel said.. A test of the pill Jones took came back positive for the same banned substances as Jones’ sample, but also included a third banned substance, tamoxifen.
While Jones took a substance that was contaminated, his inability to properly disclose his taking of the pill and his inability to look into exactly what he was taking were enough cause for a maximum suspension.
Jones was pulled from his last scheduled bout, a light heavyweight title fight against Daniel Cormier, just days ahead of UFC 200, leading to his original suspension.