In a shocking move just days after his title fight win at UFC 182, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has entered a drug treatment facility after a pre-fight test given on December 4 came back positive for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite found in cocaine that can be detected in urine.
Jones fought Saturday night at UFC 182 and defeated Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision in his eighth consecutive title defense.
The positive test was conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but because benzoylecgonine is not banned in out-of-competition testing, Jones cannot be punished for the results.
"With the support of my family, I have entered into a drug treatment facility," Jones said in a statement released to Yahoo! Sports. "I want to apologize to my fiancee, my children, as well as my mother, father, and brothers for the mistake that I made. I also want to apologize to the UFC, my coaches, my sponsors and equally important to my fans. I am taking this treatment program very seriously. Therefore, at this time my family and I would appreciate privacy."
The UFC issued a statement after the revelation of the positive drug test.
“We support UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones’ decision to enter a drug treatment facility to address his recent issue," UFC officials stated. "While we are disappointed in the failed test, we applaud him for making this decision to enter a drug treatment facility. Jon is a strong, courageous fighter inside the Octagon, and we expect him to fight this issue with the same poise and diligence. We commend him on his decision, and look forward to him emerging from this program a better man as a result.”
UFC president Dana White also stood by the champion for making the decision to enter rehab.
"I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility," White said. "I’m confident that he’ll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is."
Reebok also stood behind Jones, who signed with the company less than a month ago after a long-standing deal with Nike.
"We commend Jon for taking the necessary steps to address this issue, and we will support him in any way we can," Reebok announced in a statement. "The status of Jon’s relationship with Reebok has not changed."
Bob Bennett, director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said Tuesday in a conversation with FOX Sports that he was aware of Jones going into rehab, but that’s as far as the situation had gone at the time.
"Mr. Jones has checked into rehab and that’s between him and the UFC," Bennett said.
According to the initial report, a follow-up test was given to Jones at some point after the first result and he passed with no red flags. Cocaine has a very short half-life, so it usually can be detected in drug testing only within two to four days of usage.
Jones will go through the drug treatment program, but his fight and win over Cormier cannot be overturned because of the circumstance of the test and result. The UFC still could punish him under its code-of-conduct rules, but it appears as of now no such action is taking place.