It seems things won't turn out as bad as we thought for Jon Jones.
Last week, Jones' attorney, Howard Jacobs, said on The Luke Thomas Show that Jones' team found the tainted supplement that led to his removal from the #UFC200 headliner against Daniel Cormier, after raising USADA's red flags just days before the event. Jacobs also said that #USADA has independently tested the supplement and confirmed that it contains both clomiphene and letrozole, the banned substances found in Jones' positive test.
"We've been able to establish the source of the prohibited substances," Jacobs said. "It came from a product that Jon took that was not labelled with either of these substances. We had it tested; the product was contaminated with both of them."
Jacobs went on to add:
"I know USADA also independently had the product tested. Their testing confirms what we found. We then sent essentially the same pills that we had had tested to be tested by USADA's lab, which also found the same thing. So, pretty much every time it's been tested, it's shown that the product is contaminated with both clomiphene and letrozole, the two substances."
If what Jacobs says is true, Jones could face as little as a warning, or worst case, a one-year suspension from USADA. Jones has a hearing with USADA scheduled for October 31, and will go before the #NevadaAthleticCommission on November 10. "Bones" is likely to face some kind of punishment from USADA and the NAC, but having the tainted supplement on his side, it's very possible that his punishment will be reduced, as it has been with other fighters in similar situations.
"It should definitely lead to a significant reduction, that's our position," Jacobs explained. "The way the anti-doping rules, at least with the UFC program, are written, they mirror the World Anti-Doping Code ... you can't argue that you have no fault if you take a supplement or product that's contaminated, but you can argue that you're not significantly at fault, which gives you the ability to argue for a reduced sanction."
Romero failed a drug test administered by USADA following UFC 194, and was found not to be at fault due to taking a tainted supplement. The punishment for the failed drug test could've given Romero up to a two-year suspension, but because it was a tainted supplement, USADA and Romero's team agreed to a six-month suspension.
On Romero, Jacobs stated:
"Romero's case similarly was a contaminated product case, and the one difference between his case and Jon's case is because of the substance involved in Yoel's case. The maximum sanction was two years as opposed to the one year here. So, the possible sanction range was between the same minimum of a warning, but the maximum in his case was two years. USADA looked at it, and we were able to come to an agreement that six months was the appropriate sanction in that case."
Regarding Means, the welterweight fighter tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition test, and was then pulled from his bout with Donald Cerrone at UFC Fight Night 83. Means was ultimately given a reduced, six-month suspension due to the failure being the result of a tainted supplement. He is currently suing the manufacturer of the supplement in question for lost wages.
Until the USADA and NAC hearings are over, we won't know when Jones will return to the Octagon. But like Romero and Means, it's likely Jones could be facing a reduced sentence.