Jon Jones could be back in the Octagon as soon as UFC 230 following a suspension that was more lenient than most expected.
USADA went through an independent arbitrator to handle its anti-doping case with Jones, and ultimately, the former light heavyweight champion was given a reduced 15-month sanction retroactive to July 28, 2017. As a second time offender, “Jonny Bones” could have received as much as a four-year suspension for testing positive for the anabolic steroid Turinabol at UFC 214.
In the end, USADA and the independent arbitrator, Richard H. McLaren, determined that Jones did not take a banned substance intentionally.
“I find the athlete to have been a truthful witness who recognizes his past mistakes and has learned from them,” McLaren wrote in the arbitration agreement. “His demeanor at the hearing was of a person who is sorry for his past mistakes and recognizes that he can only improve on these errors by being an exemplary competitor who is drug free in the future. Throughout listening to the testimony, I found the athlete to have been a very credible person who was well intended and well meaning.”
Jones' reacted to the ruling on Twitter, expressing gratitude while declaring that “comeback season” was now in full swing.
“It's difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation. I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch of my life,” Jones wrote.
“It has meant the world to me and always will. But now is the time to shift the focus front and center to the road ahead. Greatness is what I'm chasing and the path to reclaiming my throne is now officially open. Comeback Season begins now.”
It's difficult to express myself at this moment but I can definitely say my heart is filled with gratitude and appreciation. I want to thank all of you who have stood by me during the toughest stretch…