Jon Jones went from one of the greatest moments of his athletic career when he bested Daniel Cormier at UFC 182 to one of the lowest points in his entire life after a drug test revealed that he tested positive for cocaine a month before the Jan. 3 bout.
For the first time since the drug test results were made public and Jones entered a recovery program, the UFC’s reigning light heavyweight champion broke his silence in an exclusive interview with FOX Sports 1 on Monday night.
Jones said he found out about the test results from UFC president Dana White, who called him with the news. Jones said he was not shocked because he expected it happen after he went partying during his training camp, used cocaine and then got tested by the Nevada State Athletic Commission a day later.
"It was a nerve-wracking day. I knew that I did something wrong. I knew the test would show that. I didn’t tell anyone. Not even my own coaches knew that I was possibly dirty for a drug test. I kept it very private," Jones said.
"I knew that the test would come out positive. I knew there was nothing I could do about it. I was stressed out about it, but I thought I would just focus on what I could control and that was the fight."
Once Jones made it to the weigh-ins, he thought he dodged a major bullet. Jones went on to win the fight in impressive fashion, but when the test results were made public days later, his triumph turned to embarrassment.
I definitely don’t have an excuse. I’m not here to make excuses for what happened. I did it.
— Jon Jones
Jones said he’s not clear why his results for an out-of-competition test were released, and wouldn’t comment when asked if he would take action against the NSAC. But, he said, "I definitely don’t have an excuse."
"I’m not here to make excuses for what happened. I did it," Jones said. "Basically at a party, and I think a coward would sit here and come up with this elaborate reason or try to blame something. I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to blame my friends. I’m not going to blame pressure or stress or anything. What I will say is I messed up. It wasn’t a mistake. I can’t call it a mistake because I consciously did it."
Jones also elaborated on his history with cocaine, saying he first discovered the drug while he was in college. The 27-year-old New York native said he experimented with drugs while in school, but denied that he’s a recreational drug user.
Jones also denied that because he checked out of rehab after 24 hours, he hadn’t taken recovery seriously.
"Me going to rehab … it was like a collective decision between myself and some of my business partners. They thought it would be good," Jones said. "I told them right away, ‘I don’t have a drug problem; I just got caught.’ They said, ‘Jon, we don’t know if you have a drug problem or not and, listen, how about you go to rehab and let them decide on how healthy you are or not.’"
Jones said he was admitted to a recovery facility where he was evaluated over the course of a day by three different doctors, who then deemed him healthy enough to exit the inpatient program and instead receive outpatient care. Jones said he was committed to stay if the doctors advised him to stay longer.
"I don’t know how the process works. I feel like I’ve been getting kind of chewed out for the program they put me on. When I went to rehab, I was willing to stay there as long as needed to be there," Jones said.
Jones had to call his mother to tell her what happened and made similar calls to his brothers, who both play in the NFL. But he said the toughest part is feeling like he let down his fans.
"This whole situation has been really embarrassing," Jones said. "I had to explain to so many people that I’m not a cocaine addict by any means or not even a frequent user. I just made a really dumb decision and got caught with my pants down in this whole situation. No excuse for it. I can just apologize."