Liddell: Looked obvious Jones was using PEDs

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

UFC Hall of Famer and former light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell appeared recently on the 400th episode of Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, and discussed former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Jones recently was stripped of his title for the third time, following another failed anti-doping test.

The failure is puzzling in that the window during which the anabolic steroid Turinabol entered his system is such that Jones would have known he would be caught given that he would be tested on fight day. UFC drug czar Jeff Novitzky has asked that fans wait until the USADA investigation is complete before judging Jones. However, Liddell believes Jones was knowingly using PEDs.

“Jon Jones is his own worst enemy,” said Liddell, as transcribed by Adam Guillen Jr. for MMA Mania. “He is such a great fighter and I don’t know why he decided, it seemed like in the off-season he decided to start using steroids.”

“Obviously, he’s got his time in court, I guess. I mean, it looked real obvious due to his increase in size. I don’t know if he needed that. It just seemed he got around the wrong people, got around the wrong idea and decided he wanted to, now he got caught. It’s sad.”

Many believe Jones’ legacy is utterly tarnished, and that he has been doping his entire career. Liddell speculated it started when he had to take time off.

“That’s what happens when anybody gets caught [tarnished legacy],” said The Iceman. “I don’t know. It looks like there was huge change in short period of time in that one break he took. It seemed like he grew a lot over that time. I seem to think that’s where it started, but I don’t know. He hasn’t said anything other than another tainted supplement. But he gets his time in court.”

“I still want to see him fight again. I’m torn with that, too. If you want to stop guys from using performance enhancing drugs, well there need to be penalties for when you get caught.”

“There is always going to to be that cat and mouse game where guys are trying to catch them and trying to beat the test. You have got to make it cost you if you mess and get caught. The progressive suspensions is what you need, they need to be longer and longer the more you get caught doing these things. But, I wouldn’t want to see a four-year [suspension], I still want to see him fight again.”

Given that this is Jones second anti-doping violation, a four-year ban is possible. However, as USADA punishment follows a patter of doubling each time, and Jones’ first failure earned a one-year suspension, a two-year ban is more likely, IF, and it’s a big if, Jones is determined to be guilty by the investigation. If there is a degree of ambiguity around whether it was knowing or not, a three-year suspension too is possible.