ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The California State Athletic Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to uphold the decision to revoke Jon Jones' license, essentially banning the UFC star from competition for one year.
Jones, 30, appeared before the commission for a failed drug test submitted in July. Jones tested positive for metabolites of the anabolic steroid turinabol.
Jones, alongside his attorney, Howard Jacobs, maintained his innocence at the Tuesday hearing, saying he had " no clue" how the banned substance entered his system. That defense was not strong enough to stop the commission from revoking Jones' license and issuing a maximum fine of $205,000.
According to CSAC executive director Andy Foster, Jones' license was revoked on Aug. 28, 2017. Per California statutes, Jones is not eligible to apply for a license for one year, meaning his ineligibility will end in August. The license revocation is only in the state of California, though the UFC and other states are expected to honor it.
"Mr. Jones, I want to see you fighting as soon as possible," CSAC chair John Cavelli said. "I hope you believe me. I hope you're listening to some of the things I've told you and the other commissioners. Think about the people around you and the things you're still doing. You are a unique, outstanding athlete. We want to see you in the cage as soon as possible. Come back to us."
Jones still faces potential sanctions by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which administered his failed test. Under USADA regulations, Jones faces a maximum suspension of four years.
Jones tweeted his gratitude to the CSAC after the hearing.
I want to thank csac for taking the time and hearing my case, and executive officer Andy Foster for saying he believes me.— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) February 27, 2018
This is the second failed drug test of Jones' career. He served a one-year suspension in 2016 after testing positive for two banned anti-estrogenic agents. Jones contended that those were the result of a tainted sexual enhancement pill.
Tuesday's hearing focused largely on two elements: Jones' inability to account for the drug in his system, and, by extension, his troubled past.
Jones argued the evidence suggests he did not intentionally cheat. The failed drug test was administered just one day before Jones' light heavyweight title fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 on July 29. Jones would have known there was a high likelihood he'd be tested on that day. He also passed an out-of-competition test in early July.
That said, Jones said he tested all of the supplements he was taking around the time of the failed test and that none of them showed contamination. As Jacobs put it, "There's nothing else that could have been tested, frankly."
"I've tried to imagine any scenario, someone who doesn't like me possibly doing something to a meal or drink -- which can drive a person crazy," Jones said.
"Any person with common sense would know not to do steroids one week before their fight. All you guys in this room are really smart. You guys know this makes no sense."
Given the lack of scientific evidence to discuss, the CSAC ultimately turned its eye to Jones' past, which includes a felony hit-and-run charge in 2015, a positive cocaine test in 2014 and his previous one-year suspension.
At one point, CSAC member Martha Shen-Urquidez referenced a DUI case in 2012, stating, "By the way, UFC gave you a Bentley? And you wrapped that around a utility pole, did you not?"
Later in Shen-Urquidez's questioning, she prompted Jones to admit that he allowed his management to sign documents for him, including one that falsely said he had reviewed mandatory USADA instructional materials.
In his closing suggestions to the commission, executive director Foster said he believed Jones was likely not trying to cheat intentionally but added, "Here we are. We're sitting here."