Jon Jones is cleared to fight in Nevada again — for now.
After an entire UFC event was moved from Las Vegas to California last month when the Nevada Athletic Commission denied sanction Jones due to a drug testing issue, the commission conditionally granted a one-fight license to the UFC light heavyweight champion on Tuesday.
Jones is expected to defend his 205-pound belt against Anthony Smith at UFC 235 on March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Jones, who twice has been suspended for doping since 2016, will be required to submit samples for testing at least twice a month to the NAC between now and his fight against Smith. After the bout, he will continue to have twice a month testing, at the minimum, administered by either the NAC, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (which administers the UFC’s anti-doping program) or the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association if he plans to fight in Nevada thereafter.
“This is on you,” commissioner Anthony Marnell III told Jones. “It’s on your shoulders. I like what I hear, I like what I see, but the proof’s in the pudding. So I’m happy that you’re back here, you’ll always be treated with respect here, and I wanted to make sure that you understood that today. Welcome back to Nevada, and do the right thing from this point going forward. As you know, we’re going to be visiting you frequently.”
Ahead of UFC 232, Jones’ Dec. 9 out-of-competition test revealed picogram-levels of a long-term metabolite for Turinabol, the drug that triggered his most recent suspension. This was deemed not to be a new ingestion, however, as the USADA ruled the test was caused by a residual amount of the substance from 2017 that led to his 15-month suspension. Still, the NAC would not issue the license and the entire event was moved from T-Mobile Arena to The Forum in Inglewood, California, where the California State Athletic Commission was willing to sanction Jones.
“Thank you so much to USADA," Jones told reporters after the hearing. "Thank you to Nevada State Athletic Commission, my team, the UFC, many of the fans, everyone for sticking by me throughout this process, allowing me to say my peace, allowing me to go through this process, eventually proving my innocence."
Jones said he will attend the UFC 235 news conference in Las Vegas scheduled for Thursday night.