From an incident that happened in July 2017, USADA was only able to come up with a decision regarding Jon Jones’ drug test failure last September. Through their arbitration process, the agency decided to slap “Bones” with a mere 15-month suspension, which originally merited a maximum of four years in the sidelines since it was a second offense in the UFC.
On Tuesday, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) decided to grant Jones a temporary license, which ultimately clears him for his scheduled title rematch against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 late this month.
And after seeing how USADA’s process had unfolded, CSAC executive director Andy Foster is now on the fence about giving the agency the authority to adjudicate such cases.
“My concern is always about what’s right for the public and what’s right for these fighters. And how are they to be treated,” Foster told Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com. “These are independent contractors. I don’t think we can be lost on that point. These are independent contractors.
“They’re with a promotional company, the UFC. But I think when you start talking about taking away that right to make a living, you need to be sure – 100% sure – and have all your facts in a row. Because we have seen several times where a fight gets charged and later it is determined it was unintentional supplement use or something to that effect.”
One of the of the said reasons why Jones’ suspension was reduced from four years to 15 months was because of a “snitching clause” that was in effect. For Foster, the idea is just downright absurd.
“That’s nonsense to me. You’re gonna tattle on somebody and get your fine reduced? That doesn’t mesh with my way of thinking,” he said. “I’m dealing with Mr. Jones. Or I’m dealing with Fighter X or Fighter B. I’m not gonna reduce their punishment if they tell me somebody else is a doper.”
Foster also brought up the fact that there may be conflict of interest since USADA is in charge of both investigating and deciding upon PED violation cases in the UFC.
“I think this process was a wreck, and I think we learned from the process,” Foster said in another interview with MMAjunkie. “If we keep doing this to the fighters, that’s not serving the public interest.”
“It’s not exactly a conflict, but it’s kind of a conflict. I’m not saying they do, but … there’s a perception of a conflict. They have a vested interest in making sure their science is right.
“Please understand, I’m not saying (they have a conflict of interest). But there’s a perception there, and I am saying this: I do believe there’s been quite a few cases that could have been solved quicker and cheaper and got the same results instead of going through this long, arduous process.”
UFC 232 is scheduled to happen on December 29th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.