Why Hiding Under the Octagon to Avoid Nevada Drug Tests is a Poor Choice

Last night, in an ongoing online spat with Israel Adesanya, Jon Jones admitted to the long held rumor that he previously avoided drug testing efforts by hiding under an MMA cage.

Now I’m not suggesting Nevada is going to do anything about this. Perhaps they will try. Perhaps they will let ancient history slide. However, it’s worth pointing out that under both Nevada regulations and the UFC’s custom tailored USADA anti doping program there are severe consequences to ducking a drug test.

Let’s start with Nevada. Who remembers when Wanderlei Silva ran from Nevada drug testers last decade? The NAC did not take kindly to this and hit Silva with a $70,000 fine and a lifetime ban. This was overturned on judicial review with the Court noting the heavy regulatory response was arbitrary and capricious.

Nevada responded by codifying the punishment for avoiding a test. While it does not lead to an automatic ban the consequences are still severe.

NAC 467.5705 notes that a fighter “who, without compelling justification, refuses or fails to submit to the collection of a sample or specimen upon the request of the Commission or its representative or who otherwise evades the collection of a sample or specimen commits an anti-doping violation and is subject to disciplinary action by the Commission.”

The punishment for this infraction is “a period of at least 12 months but not more than 24 months” of ineligibility.

This is all subject to NAC 467.577 which notes that if the event is a second anti-doping violation the NAC “May impose a period of ineligibility that is double the period set forth in NAC 467.5705 

And if its a third violation NAC 467.578 notes the fighter could be facing “a period of at least 18 months up to lifetime ineligibility”.

USADA also has strict punishment. While fighters are given multiple strikes for failed ‘whereabouts’ failures before being punished the same is not true for intentional test avoidance.

First USADA has a lengthy limitation period. Under Article 17 of the UFC’s Anti-Doping Program they retain jurisdiction for 10 years with the section noting “No Anti-Doping Policy Violation proceeding may be commenced against an Athlete or other Person unless he or she has been notified of the Anti-Doping Policy Violation as provided in Article 7, or notification has been reasonably attempted, within ten years from the date the violation is asserted to have occurred.”

Under section 2.3 of the ADP test avoidance is noted as a stand alone violation with the section stating “Intentionally evading Sample collection, or without compelling justification, intentionally refusing or intentionally or negligently failing to submit to Sample collection after notification as authorized in this Anti-Doping Policy.

As with the NAC, the USADA policy starts with potentially steep punishments for doping violations with these increasing severly for subsequent offences.

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