The UFC fined light heavyweight champion Jon Jones $25,000 for violating its Athlete Code of Conduct policy after a drug test last month revealed traces of benzoylecgonine, the main metabolite in cocaine, in the fighter’s system. The promotion made the announcement on Saturday, two weeks after Jones successfully defended his title against challenger Daniel Cormier.
“The UFC came to this decision after reviewing the facts surrounding the issue, and after receiving confirmation from the Nevada Athletic Commission that Jones passed all required drug tests following his bout at UFC 182 on Jan. 3,” a statement posted to UFC’s Web site read.
The promotion will donate the $25,000 to a substance abuse prevention program, according to the statement.
The fine comes as a bit of a surprise. Until now, the promotion had been very publicly applauding the 27-year-old for taking ownership of what appeared to be a substance abuse problem. Jones checked himself into a rehabilitation program shortly after his test results were made public on Jan. 6.
“Everything happens for a reason,” UFC President Dana White said the next day on Fox Sports 1’s “America’s Pregame” show. At that time, White gave no indication that he would be levying any type of punishment on Jones.
On Jan. 13, however, news broke that Jones had checked himself out of rehab after just one day. That’s all he thought he needed, according to Jones’s mother who spoke with WBNG-TV in Binghamton, N.Y.
There is still more to the story that has yet to be revealed, according to White, who told the Boston Herald on Wednesday that he’s still in Jones’s corner, fine or no fine.
“When the whole story comes out, people will understand. It will be put into perspective,” White said. “When Jon Jones comes out and does his interview, the truth will come out, and everyone will understand. Or they won’t, you know. Jon is a very polarizing guy, people either love him or they hate him. Either way, the truth will come out soon.”