(Reuters) – The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has suspended interim UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for one year after he tested positive for prohibited substances clomiphene and letrozole.
Jones, who tested positive in an out-of-competition sample provided on June 16 and was pulled from a title fight against Daniel Cormier days before UFC 200, had claimed he mistakenly took a contaminated sexual-performance pill.
In a statement released on Monday, USADA said a three-member independent panel had found Jones’ “degree of fault was at the very top end of the scale”.
USADA slapped him with the standard one-year ban for the violation, and backdated it to July 6, the date of his provisional suspension.
Jones contended he had a taken pill called Tadalafil, which contained the prohibited substances and had been given to him by a team mate, believing it to be a pill called Cialis, which does not contain any banned substances.
The panel said Jones “is not a drug cheat” but his actions “verged on the reckless” as he simply relied on his team mate’s word on what the pill was.
Jones was stripped of the light heavyweight title he had held since 2011 and suspended for several months after being charged in a hit-and-run case in April 2015, an incident for which he was later sentenced to 18 months probation.
He returned to competition in April this year with a victory over Ovince Saint Preux to take the division’s interim belt.
(Reporting by Debanjan Bose in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty)