LAS VEGAS – UFC President Dana White called Jon Jones’ second positive steroids test “brutal” and sounded resigned to a long punishment for the UFC light heavyweight champion.
“If it ends up getting two or three (drug violations), it might be the end of his career,” White said Tuesday during a media scrum at The Ultimate Fighter Gym in Las Vegas. “So to talk about his legacy, it’s probably the end of his career.”
White said the promotion was “probably” going to book Jones opposite heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic (17-2 MMA, 11-2 UFC) at UFC 218, a competitive upgrade from the money fight Jones sought against ex-champ and WWE star Brock Lesnar after winning back the title from Daniel Cormier (19-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) at UFC 214.
But now, Jones (23-1 MMA, 17-1 UFC) could be facing a four-year suspension and the second stripping of his UFC title after an in-competition drug test revealed the presence of the anabolic steroid turinabol.
“As far as I’m concerned, Cormier would be the champion (if Jones is suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency),” White said. “The only guy he’s ever lost to in his whole career is Jon Jones. He was the champ; he’s the champion if Jones isn’t.”
White, however, didn’t want to speculate too much with Jones’ case pending. The champ is temporarily suspended pending the resolution of his case and also faces a potential penalty from the California State Athletic Commission, which regulated UFC 214.
“It’s brutal,” he said. “It’s unbelievable. I’m sure I feel the same way every one of you felt when you heard. I always know what to say. I don’t know what to say about this one.”
Despite his reticence, White frequently spoke about what could have been with Jones, whose virtually unblemished career inside the cage is starkly contrasted by his frequent brushes with trouble outside of it.
Of a potential heavyweight title run, White said, “He has the size, the power – he has everything to be a heavyweight champion. So who knows what could’ve been. It’s one of those sad stories.”
White admitted it didn’t do much good to express disappointment in Jones, a star with whom he’s clashed behind the scenes and still hasn’t spoke to since Jones failed a drug test in connection with UFC 200. To sum up his feelings, the promoter cited a quote from Jones’ father in the official trailer for UFC 214, a masterpiece for its unflinching look at the champ’s quest for redemption heading into a rematch with Cormier.
In the end, White said, it was the fighter’s family who said it best.
“His dad said in that (video) – Jon’s his own worst enemy,” White said. “Boy is that true. But it’s not over yet. He’s got to go through the process. Maybe there was something crazy for this stuff to get in his system.”
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