Fake news is one of the hottest terms in the media landscape. There's good reason for that.
It seems anything anyone says or does can be twisted to fit the storyline being proposed by whatever outlet is publishing it. That goes for MMA just as much as it does for the big boys at CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.
Jeff Novitsky, the UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, recently became the victim of fake news following an appearance on Octagon announcer Bruce Buffer's podcast.
Novitsky was asked about former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones‘ latest anti-doping case.
Following his victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214, Jones was notified that he had tested positive for the steroid Turinabol in a sample collected on July 28, the day prior to the fight. He was provisionally suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The UFC stripped the title from Jones and returned it to Cormier.
Jones is currently in the midst of the adjudication of his case, claiming that he was unaware of where the Turinabol came from and trying to prove his innocence.
In his appearance on Buffer's podcast, Novitsky explained the circumstances of the case and mentioned that the facts as he knew them seemed to lead toward the idea that Jones might have unknowingly ingested Turinabol, but he was far removed from declaring Jones' innocence or proclaiming that he was likely to receive no punishment, as several reports proclaimed.
Novitsky released a statement via MMAFighting on Wednesday, debunking the fake news claims.
“The headline and corresponding article took excerpts from an interview I did last week, where I was asked about the status of Jon Jones’ pending case,” Novitzky wrote in the statement. “I indicated that Jon’s camp, the UFC and USADA were all working hard and together to determine the source of the prohibited substance in Jon’s system. That is still the case.
“I stated that this is often a lengthy process that can take up to several months to complete, but that possible sanctions based on the findings of a completed case ranged from a multi-year suspension, to a minimal, or no-fault sanction, if an unavoidable ingestion of the prohibited substance was determined.”
Jones has a prior sanction from USADA, making it doubly difficult for him to escape this case without additional punishment. But it is likely to be several months before there is a definitive outcome to his case.