UFC's interim light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones is "not a drug cheat", according to United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). But they still suspended him for one year following his failed drug test in June.
According to ESPN, Jones is "very happy" that he has "been cleared of any wrongdoing." He said that he was pleased that USADA's investigation did not see him as a "cheater of the sport."
"Being cleared of these allegations was very important to me.," Jones said. "I have worked hard in and outside of the octagon to regain my image and my fighting career and will take these next eight months to continue my training and personal growth both as a man and a athlete."
Jones entered into arbitration with USADA last month, the first athlete to do so, regarding the sanctions for a failed out-of-competition drug test last June 16. An independent arbitration panel announced the decision on Monday and suspended Jones starting July 6, the date he was pulled from a UFC 200 pay-per-view title fight with Daniel Cormier.
According to USADA, the independent three-member arbitration panel from McLaren Global Sports Solutions, Inc. (MGSS) made the recommendation to suspend Jones for the maximum of one year. The UFC star tested positive for two banned substances, Lomiphene and letrozole, following an out-of-competition urine test.
MGSS Arbitration Panel Imposes One-Year Sanction on UFC Athlete, Jones, for Anti-Doping Policy Violation https://t.co/rggN1DSAWe
— USADA (@usantidoping) November 7, 2016
Both substances are in the class of Hormone and Metabolic Modulators. Both are being banned under UFC's Anti-Doping Policy.
Jones said that he received a pill from teammate Eric Blasich on June 14. He believed the pill to be Cialis, which he asked his agent Malki Kawa to verify if its not listed on the World's Anti-Doping Agency's banned substances.
Jones later found that the pill was not Cialis, but another form of Tadalfil. The MGSS panel, in their investigation, concluded that Jones' degree of fault was at the very top end of the scale.
The panel said that Jones did not take appropriate precautions to confirm exactly what his teammate had provided. They also said he did not supervise Kawawa's methods of verifying if the medication was not banned.
The panel said that Jones is estimated to lose $9 million while he is serving his suspension. But they do acknowledge that he "is not a drug cheat."