The day I’ve dreaded for quite some time finally arrived…the day that confirmed the absolute worst scenario that I hoped could be avoided. Maybe I was deluding myself…maybe I just could not face reality. I suppose like most fans, I was simply caught up in the aftermath of arguably one of the most pivotal championship victories in UFC history. Alas, all the denial and delusion in the world cannot truly shield one from reality, which looms around the corner of every decision and action we choose to take. In this case, reality didn’t just set in – it came and hit me, along with many others I’m sure, like a Mack truck, and then the news today simply felt as though it rolled backwards to inflict just a little more damage.
Today, Jon Jones has officially been confirmed as a multiple time steroid user, as the B-sample from his UFC 214 in-competition drug test came back positive.
For me, this is probably the worst news I’ve received since hearing that Anderson Silva failed a drug test after his victory over Nick Diaz, following a long recovery after a gruesome leg injury after his bout with Chris Weidman at UFC 168. Seeing Anderson Silva lose was difficult enough; I was not yet ready to admit that Anderson Silva was not a mythical creature sent to us from the MMA gods to wreak havoc on his division in dazzling fashion. Seeing him lose AGAIN was even worse, especially given the brutal manner in which he lost, because I felt that I needed to admit to myself that perhaps the GOAT may have finally reached the end of his reign. However, I was more excited than ever after seeing Silva’s long road to recovery finally pay off in spades with a victory over one of the most notoriously aggressive fighters in MMA history in Diaz. Little did I know that this excitement would be short-lived once The Spider failed a drug test, and suddenly everything would change.
Similarly, I just cannot seem to come to grips with the fact that Jon Jones, who has justifiably been considered the GOAT by many due to his nearly spotless record, flawless fight style, and seemingly infinite arsenal, is now the saboteur of his own, decorated career. He had everything – a path to legendary status, the light heavyweight championship belt, endorsement deals, and the adoration of fans everywhere. For a fighter, what more could you really want, and what would you do to keep it? Well, apparently, keeping it did not seem like much of a priority to Jones, who time and time again showed that his own selfish indulgence triumphed over the aforementioned list of accolades. It wasn’t enough to fail a drug test for cocaine. It wasn’t enough to have his title stripped after a hit-and-run incident involving a pregnant woman. It wasn’t enough after he failed a drug test THE FIRST TIME. He just had to fail again, and just when things seemed to be going so well…
I had always hoped that, despite everything we had seen with Jon Jones’ tumultuous career, he would ultimately reign supreme as the greatest light heavyweight of all time. Hell, I could even admit that Jones could have retired with a greater career than Anderson Silva, and he could have been one of the few champions to retire with his belt. When he defeated Daniel Cormier for the second time, I was just at the peak of my fandom. “What would be next for the champ??”, I excitedly asked myself. The sky was the limit…and the key word here is WAS. Now, we shall never know…and perhaps we will never know the reason that he just could not get out of his own way. He’s a professional fighter of the highest caliber, with a well-credentialed team of coaches and nutritionists by his side at every second. There is no excuse this time…there is simply no justification for a misstep of this magnitude. He has failed, and that’s that.