What The Yadav Case Can Teach Us About Jon Jones’ Upcoming USADA Fate

This week UFC fighter Jon Jones had his mixed martial arts licence revoked by the California State Athletic Commission and was further fined $205,000 for competing with Turinabol in his system at UFC 214.

These penalties were just some in a series of possible consequences Jones is facing for the infraction.  The most significant are likely to come from the US Anti-Doping Agency who have contractual oversight for doping in the UFC.

Jones is a past offender.  Turinabol brings a 2 year ban.  As a repeat offender the UFC/USADA Anti Doping Policy calls for a doubling of the suspension with  section 10.7  of the Policy stating ” For an Athlete or other Person’s second Anti-Doping Policy Violation, the period of Ineligibility shall be…twice the period of Ineligibility otherwise applicable to the second Anti-Doping Policy Violation treated as if it were a first violation“.  In short 4 years.

Some are calling Jones’ punishment from the CSAC a victory for him.  Others believe the hearing was disastrous for Jones.  For anyone familiar with the Narsingh Yadav doping case the latter is your more likely conclusion.

Yadav was a wrestler who ingested a performance enhancing drug.  He initially succeeded in persuading regulators that the drug was likely ingested via sabotage.  This decision was overturned on appeal with the Court of Arbitration of Sport finding vague and circumstantial evidence that sabotage occurred is not enough to prove this affirmative defense.

As became clear in the CSAC hearing, vague assertions of sabotage are all that Jones has.

The Court of Arbitration of Sport stated as follows in the Yadav case as to the legal merits of a vague sabotage defence:

The Panel noted in the closing remarks that the Athlete’s counsel submitted that he may have been subject to further sabotage, but all in all found the sabotage(s) theory possible, but not probable and certainly not grounded in any real evidence.  The Panel therefore determined that the Athlete had failed to satisfy his burden of proof and the Panel was satisfied that the most likely explanation was that the Athlete simply and intentionally ingested the prohibited substance in tablet form on more than one occasion

Yadav’s fate was a 4 year ban.

This, when coupled with Jones’ past finding of ‘recklessness‘ when it comes to substances he’s ingesting, compounded by his admission that his management forged his signature when it came to complying with USADA anti-doping education makes the likelihood of a 4 year suspension a real possibility for Jones.


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