Friday, August 19, 2022

Jeff Novitzky Fields Questions Surrounding Jon Jones Controversy

UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky had a Q&A session with reporters during a media scrum after UFC 232 weigh-ins regarding the Jon Jones testing controversy heading into tonight’s pay per view. Here is what he had to say about the most common questions surrounding the situation:

Microdosing

“Those that know about microdosing know that you microdose with endogenous substances, things that are already appearing in the body.”

Fluctuating Picogram Levels of Jon Jones’s Drug Tests

“Be real careful if you’re going to be the guy out there with the pseudo-science saying, ‘Wait a second, Jon jumped from 20 to 60 from September to December, and that means he reingested it,’ What he’s saying here is, slow your roll on that. It’s such a small, incomprehensive level that we don’t really know what those variances are going to look like.”

USADA Objectivity

“By putting these things in writing, by putting their reputations on the line now and forever going forward, they’re never going to do something like that because the UFC pays USADA to administer our program, or because Jon Jones is a popular fighter and they want to see him fight this weekend. That’s just not the way this world works.”

Sources External to USADA

“I have some very absolute statements from three of the top anti-doping experts, I consider, in the world, that all of them said, there’s no of reingestion. And there is also, maybe most importantly, no evidence that he would retain any performance-enhancing benefit. And so I’ve got to rely on those, and I’m confident in those scientists and their opinion.

“All (Daniel Eichner) sees when it comes in the laboratory is numbers. It could be an NFL test, a major league baseball test, an Olympic test, a UFC test…and as he’s analyzing these numbers, he didn’t know who it belonged to. So I’m very confident in Dr. Eichner’s ability and expertise.”

Precedent for Jon Jones’s Situation

“USADA has informed me that they have reached out to other professional sports organizations who have had the exact same issue. Because of collective bargaining issues, they don’t want to be public about it, but there’s another professional sports league out there that’s had this issue pop up multiple times. And they’ve handled their adjudication the same way USADA handled Jon. The individual was punished under a strict liability the first time through. And as long as the science showed still residual effect in subsequent tests, they were not punished again. It’s really a matter of double jeopardy.

“I’m aware there’s multiple instances in other sports…in the Olympic world, too.”

Equal Treatment for Other Fighters

“We’ve actually had one in the UFC. So Grant Dawson, who was a winner on The Contender Series, Dana gave a contract to. His first test on the USADA program was positive for low-level M3 metabolites. What’s required for new fighters is that they disclose going back a year…any supplements, medications, et cetera, that they’ve taken. So initially, USADA made the ruling, well, this somehow showed up, you didn’t disclose what caused this over the last year, and then in reconsidering over these last several months talking to experts, other professional sports leagues. They said they couldn’t rule out that whatever caused that happened more than a year ago and so Grant was basically deemed eligible right away, and there was ultimately no sanction there.”

Frank Mir and Tom Lawlor Sanctioning Inconsistency

“It’s very consistent. Jon was sanctioned the first time it showed up in his system, sanctioned for 15 months for what (Richard) McLaren ultimately determined was non-intentional use. So those out there saying that Jon got out there Scot free…I mean, an independent arbitrator determined that he didn’t do anything on purpose. It was however it got into his system. He still got 15 months. Frank Mir, there wasn’t a second occasion where there was still remnants from the first time. He was sanctioned via strict liability.

“Same with Tom Lawlor. Now Frank Mir, what they had in common, at least it was the same substance. But Tom Lawlor’s was a completely different substance. Ostarine, we’re not talking about long-term metabolites that stick around. We’re talking about the parent compound. So apples and oranges. So those who are comparing these cases, there’s no case that’s truly like Jon’s, where he’s already been sanctioned, and then it re-appeared, and the experts determined it was still from the same sanction. It’s classic double jeopardy clause. You don’t punish someone twice for the same action.”

Jon Jones’s Checkered Testing History

“You look at both of Jon’s cases…Richard McLaren, maybe the most credible anti-doping guy in the world and/or his group in both written decisions….in both instances, they determined this was non-intentional.”

Fairness to Other Fighter Competing Against Someone With Banned Substance in System

 “Again, I think it’s very unique to this M3 long-term metabolite. I don’t think you can just group all banned substances and make that, ‘Oh, he’s got a banned substance. ‘It is a very specific, very strange-acting, long-term metabolite. The parent compound is the thing that makes you recover quicker, stronger, potentially faster. I don’t think there’s any evidence out there that this M3 metabolite has those effects in the body. It’s just a sign in the body that there was a past ingestion of the oral turinabol.”

Do you believe Jeff Novitzky’s answers in this media scrum were sufficient?

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