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Jon Jones skips recommended VADA testing ahead of UFC 232

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Former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will be subject to drug testing under the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for his comeback fight against Alexander Gustafsson.

But Jones has decided to pass on additional testing suggested by the California State Athletic Commission, which recently granted him a temporary license to fight.

CSAC executive director Andy Foster informed MMAjunkie of Jones’ decision on Wednesday. Earlier this week, Jones’ attorney, Howard Jacobs, said a final decision hadn’t been made. Jacobs did not respond to follow-up requests for comment.

Jones’ participation in the additional testing, conducted by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, was not a requirement of his licensure. But several commissioners told the 31-year-old fighter that signing on would improve his reputation.

“I, for one, would like to put the doubts to sleep and to put them away once and for all,” commissioner Martha Shen-Urquidez told Jones at a hearing last week in Sacramento. “And for people to believe you, that you are that talented and that you are the greatest, and that you can win a fight just clean, and that this is Jon Jones, and to put those doubts away once and for all.”

As a sweetener, the commission essentially agreed to pay for the extra effort, subtracting the costs of VADA’s fees from a $205,000 fine Jones paid for a positive steroid test at UFC 214 that also cost him his license. Initially, Jones appeared open to the idea of testing. Jacobs later qualified that his client was “agreeable in principle” to VADA but needed to see the fine print of what was required.

“We need to see what exactly it is that we’re agreeing to, as far as what VADA is testing for, when they test, what their restrictions are,” Jacobs said.

On Monday, Jacobs told MMAjunkie there were “some issues” with the CSAC proposal for VADA testing, which called only to test Jones for performance-enhancers and not drugs of abuse. Jacobs did not elaborate any further.

VADA, chaired by former Nevada State Athletic Commission doctor Margaret Goodman, conducts comprehensive “Olympic style” drug testing like the UFC’s anti-doping partner USADA. Unlike USADA, however, VADA doesn’t conduct its own results management and passes test results directly to athletic commissions in fights where its been employed.

At Jones’ hearing, Foster had stern criticism for USADA, saying the CSAC wrongly ceded its authority to USADA. In the future, Foster said, USADA should only be responsible for collecting drug test results and sending them to the commission.

In receiving a license from the CSAC, Jones cleared a regulatory hurdle to a comeback fight against Alexander Gustafsson, whom he defeated in 2013 in perhaps the greatest light heavyweight fight in UFC history. Jones now can get licensed by the NSAC, which oversees the rematch Dec. 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Jones will be subject to drug testing by the NSAC, as well as UFC anti-doping partner USADA, which has twice sanctioned him for anti-doping violations stemming from positive drug tests prior to UFC 200 and after UFC 214.

UFC President Dana White has said the moment Jones and Gustafsson clash, the light heavyweight title currently held by Daniel Cormier, Jones’ scheduled opponent in connection with both his anti-doping violations, will be vacated.

For more on UFC 232, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.



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