How Jon Jones' failed B-sample drug test may contain good news for UFC star

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Will Jon Jones be eligible to compete in the UFC in the near future? It all depends on his B-sample. (AP)
Will Jon Jones be eligible to compete in the UFC in the near future? It all depends on his B-sample. (AP)

A metabolite of the anabolic steroid turinabol was discovered in the B-sample of UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ urine, but it could be indicative of an unintentional use.

Because his B-sample was found with the turinabol metabolite M3, USADA formally charged Jones with an anti-doping violation. But Jeff Novitzky, the UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance, insisted the process is a long way from being over.

Jones has a right to appeal and his team is working with USADA and the UFC now. In addition, he also has the right to go to arbitration.

“I would very much encourage everybody, despite where we’re at in this with the B-sample being confirmed, I would encourage the media, I would encourage Jon’s fans, I would encourage those who aren’t fans of Jon’s, to let this process play out,” Novitzky said. “We’ve seen many different things happen here, where there are varying degrees of responsibility. His team is working hard on it. We’re working hard. USADA’s working hard.

“Everybody wants the same thing, to figure out how this happened. Please, before anyone jumps to conclusions about Jon, let this process play out.”

Jones defeated arch rival Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 214 on July 29 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, to regain the light heavyweight belt. On Aug. 22, the UFC announced that Jones’ A-sample came back positive for turinabol. As is his right, Jones requested the B-sample to be tested.

The fact that the B-sample came back positive for M3, the metabolite of turinabol, and not for the parent compound itself, may well be good news for Jones. The parent compound has a half-life of 16 hours, meaning it leaves the body in less than a day. Jones’ positive test came at the weigh-in on July 28. Jones passed a blood test after the fight on July 29, though turinabol is detected in testing via urine, not blood.

The metabolite M3 is able to be detected for between 45 to 60 days, and potentially more. Because Jones passed tests on July 6 and July 7, that means there was a three-week window in which he could have ingested the turinabol.

“On the face of things, any sophisticated doper, or any doper who knows how to do a Google search, is not going to choose turinabol or any other chlorinated steroid,” Novitzky said. “They could very easily find that there is a detection window of 45 to 60 days and so with the facts that are out there, that Jon tested negative on July 6 and July 7, that means the substance entered his body between July 7 and July 28.

“Any sophisticated user, or anyone who does a Google search, will see it could be potentially two months in your system. Thus, it would not be a drug of choice if you had any level of sophistication.”

Jones was fighting for the first time since serving a one-year suspension after he failed a test prior to UFC 200 in 2016. Jones admitted he took a pill that he thought was Cialis that a friend had given him to aid in sexual performance. An arbiter found that Jones didn’t intentionally ingest a banned substance but found that he was grossly negligent.

That could impact whatever penalty he receives if he exhausts all appeals and arbitration and a violation is confirmed.

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