Jon Jones gets license to fight in Nevada for UFC 235

Updated January 29, 2019 - 6:01 pm

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was granted a license to fight by a unanimous vote of the Nevada Athletic Commission at a Tuesday meeting at the Sawyer Building.

Jones is scheduled to defend the belt against Anthony Smith on March 2 at T-Mobile Arena in the main event of UFC 235. He was issued a provisional one-fight license under the order of submitting to enhanced testing procedures throughout 2019.

“Thank you so much to (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency), thank you to the NAC, my team, the UFC and mainly the fans for sticking by me through this process, allowing me to say my peace and eventually prove my innocence,” Jones said in a statement. “I’m super grateful to be back fighting in Nevada. I’m excited that March 2nd is going to be a magnificent event. I’m looking forward to all the testing and to getting back in front of the fans and just putting on great fights.”

Also at the meeting, lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former champ Conor McGregor had settlement agreements approved that included fines and suspensions for their role in a postfight melee Oct. 6 at T-Mobile Arena.

Jones was supposed to fight Dec. 29 in Las Vegas, but the NAC learned of adverse findings on Dec. 21 from an out-of-competition test conducted by USADA. The commission decided that it wouldn’t have enough time to adjudicate the case, which involved scientists testifying the results were indicative of leftover amounts of turinabol metabolites indicative of past use and not new ingestion.

Jones was suspended by USADA for using the drug when it was found in his system after a fight in July 2017, but the agency supported Jones in his claims that he shouldn’t be punished for the same thing again.

“We agree with and support the NSAC decision today to license Jon Jones to fight in Nevada, and while USADA does not have jurisdiction over the licensing, we appreciate being able to collaborate with the NSAC to ensure a fair outcome,” a statement from USADA read. “This decision is the same conclusion we reached based on the facts and science under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and the California Commission reached under its rules. The NSAC conducted a hearing, weighed the facts, listened to the independent experts and appropriately determined that the trace amounts of M3 found in Jones’ samples were residual and provided no performance-enhancing benefit and respected the principle of double jeopardy.”

The UFC moved Jones’ Dec. 29 fight to Los Angeles on less than a week’s notice, and he won the belt with a third-round knockout of Alexander Gustafsson.

That allowed time for the NAC to gather evidence and background information and go through the nearly four-hour hearing Tuesday.

“At the end of the hearing, I don’t think it was a difficult decision at all in my mind,” chairman Anthony Marnell said after hearing testimony and reviewing expert statements. “There’s a balance here between enforcing the regulations and then as a commission always looking forward and continue to be the gold standard by adjusting to new things that come before us.

“At the end of the day, I feel very confident he won’t have any performance-enhancing benefits when he walks into the octagon on March 2 if the tests continue to stay consistent with what we’ve seen.”

Jones said he wanted to go through with the licensing hearing in Nevada so he could fight in Las Vegas again.

“Fighting in Nevada is extremely important to me,” Jones said during the hearing. “I believe it’s the fight capital of the world, and one of my goals since Day One has been to be a mainstream athlete and bring more awareness to mixed martial arts. I think being able to fight in Las Vegas is obviously going to be able to help me do that.”

More MMA: Follow at and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at or 702-277-8028. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on Twitter.

Covering The Cage Videos
UFC 235 press conference highlights
UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman have a heated exchange and Ben Askren enjoys his time on the stage by interacting with UFC president Dana White.
UFC president Dana White talks UFC 235 and more
UFC president Dana White joined Heidi Fang and Adam Hill to discuss the UFC 235 card set for Las Vegas on Mar. 2 at the T-Mobile Arena and also spoke on Colby Covington and Khabib Nurmagomedov's and Conor McGregor's disciplinary measures given by the Nevada Athletic Commission. Full version available on Facebook at Review-Journal Sports
Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman Have Heated Exchange At UFC 235 Presser - VIDEO
UFC 235 opened with Jon Jones returning after his meeting at the Nevada Athletic commission, Tyron Woodley and Kamaru Usman arguing on stage and Ben Askren making his UFC debut.
NAC Chairman says it's time to tone down MMA smack talk ahead of fights
After announcing the fines and suspensions given to Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov for their involvement in a melee at UFC 229 in Las Vegas, Nevada Athletic Commission Chairman Anthony Marnell said it may be time to address "mouthy fighters" smack talk and conduct leading up to a fight.
Jones, NAC Chairman issue statements following Jones' licensing approval for UFC 235
The Nevada Athletic Commission issued UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones a conditional one-fight license to compete at UFC 235 taking place at the T-Mobile Arena on Mar. 2. Jones had to reapply for a license in Nevada after failing a drug test which led to UFC 232 being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, California.
UFC donates $240,000 to Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
UFC presents Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada with $240,000 donation and promises to grant more wishes as the partnership goes forward.
Benavidez on his new contract, future of the UFC flyweight division
UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez, who is booked to fight Dustin Ortiz at UFC Fight Night 143 on ESPN Plus, discusses his role as an alternate for the title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo, his new 4-fight contract and the future of the 125-pound division.
Covering the Cage: Jones, Nunes win at UFC 232
Amanda Nunes defeats Cyborg in the women's featherweight division and Jon Jones returns to UFC as the light heavyweight champion. Covering the Cage host Heidi Fang and Adam Hill recap the UFC 232 main and co main events.
Las Vegas MMA fighter Joey Ruquet joins Copa Combate tournament
When Combate Americas' Copa Combate tournament takes place on Dec. 7, Las Vegas-based MMA fighter Joey Ruquet will step in for Gaston Reyno and compete for the $100,000 prize money in the 8-man, one night featherweight tournament.
Espino, Chiasson claim UFC contracts with wins at TUF 28 Finale
Juan Espino was crowned as the TUF heavyweight winner when he submitted Justin Frazier at the finale in Las Vegas and Macy Chiasson submitted Pannie Kianzad to become the TUF 28 women's featherweight winner.
Kamaru Usman excited for what's next after TUF 28 win
After taking a win over Rafael dos Anjos at the TUF 28 Finale, UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman says he can be ready for anything that comes next or a quick turnaround if it gets him closer to a title shot.
Dana White on what's next for Usman and the flyweight division
UFC president Dana White spoke with media after the TUF 28 Finale to discuss what's next for the flyweight division and the main event winner, UFC welterweight Kamaru Usman.
Dos Anjos and Usman TUF 28 media day
Rafael dos Anjos and Kamaru Usman talk about facing each other at the TUF 28 Finale at a media day leading up to the Nov. 30 contest. Their welterweight bout will serve as the main event.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like