Coming off of the biggest win of his career at UFC 182, few would have expected Jon Jones to have the worst week of his life. But that’s exactly what happened, as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport failed a drug test for a trace element of cocaine and is now on his way to rehab. What’s worse, numerous MMA journalists have come out to say that this is more than just a social habit, and that Jon actually uses lots of cocaine and does so frequently. Why they didn’t bother to investigate this earlier could be attributed to a desire to work directly for Dana, but that’s neither here or there.
Cocaine is debatably a performance-enhancing drug, and Jon should be punished for using it. But the bigger issue that doesn’t seem to be gaining a lot of traction online is the fact that Jon was probably taking artificial testosterone, and that is definitely a performance-enhancing drug. Athletic commissions usually find this out by administering tests to determine an athlete’s Testosterone:Epitestosterone levels. Commonly referred to as a T:E ratio, most healthy adult males have a ratio of 1:1.
When speaking of high-level athletes, there’s an understanding that testosterone levels should be a little higher than normal. Abnormally high levels however are a sign that someone has been undergoing some form of testosterone enhancement. If their T:E ratio is absurdly low, odds are close to certain that either they’ve used a masking agent to cover testosterone enhancement, or their testosterone levels are suppressed due to a previous influx of artificial testosterone.
Jon’s T:E ratios were tested at 0.35, 0.29 and even as low as 0.19. All three suggest foul play. Justin Gatlin, the famous American Olympian who was busted for testosterone in 2006, had a ratio at 0.5. This gives you a comparison of how suspect Jon’s levels are, and how one would be naive to think there’s anything happening here other than an artificial boosting of testosterone. But how can we know for sure?
Victor Conte has the answer. One of the foremost authorities on performance-enhancing drugs in sports, he was one of the few people to seriously question these test results and demand a carbon isotope ratio test. CIR tests analyze the atomic make-up of testosterone in a participant’s urine to determine whether it is human-generated or artificial. This will let us know for sure whether Jon is a user of artificial testosterone. Basically, whether he’s a cheater.
Jon Jones is a transcendent athlete and maybe the best fighter of all time. But we have a sport of rules and regulations, and one of the most important of those is that a fighter shouldn’t use performance-enhancing drugs while training for a fight. In a sport where broken bones and concussed brains are the norm, allowing one fighter to have a scientifically-gifted advantage is tantamount to assault with a deadly weapon.
That’s why we must do a CIR test on Jon Jones’s UFC 182 urine samples. If you care about the integrity of the sport, if you don’t want it to be looked at as a joke, then you should demand that the NSAC do a CIR test. As great as that fight was, as great as Jon looked, if he was on performance-enhancing drugs then a lot of what we saw doesn’t matter. And until we know for sure, none of it matters.