UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones has decided to enter a drug treatment facility after it was announced Tuesday that he tested positive for benzoylecgonine, the main metabolite in cocaine.
Jones, 27, who Saturday night defeated Daniel Cormier to strengthen his reputation as the world's best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist, was randomly tested Dec. 4 by the Nevada Athletic Commission. After he tested positive, according to Yahoo Sports, the Nevada commission conducted a follow-up test later in the month that Jones passed.
Benzoylecgonine is not banned by the Nevada Athletic Commission for out-of-competition use, so Jones wasn't penalized or suspended before he defeated Cormier by unanimous decision.
Tuesday's news is another black eye in the career of the UFC champion. On May 19, 2012, in upstate New York, Jones heavily damaged his 2012 black Bentley when it struck a utility pole.
Jones pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving while intoxicated. He was fined $1,000 and had to install ignition interlocks on all his vehicles. Jones also had his driver's license suspended for six months.
Jones and Cormier were involved in a brawl in a casino lobby in August while promoting their bout. The Nevada commission fined both fighters and ordered them into community service.
Through his attorney, Jones released a statement to Yahoo Sports apologizing for the actions that led to the positive test and announcing that he would be seeking treatment.
"With the support of my family, I have entered into a drug treatment facility," the statement said. "I want to apologize to my fiancée, 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."
UFC president Dana White said in a statement: "I am proud of Jon Jones for making the decision to enter a drug treatment facility. I'm confident that he'll emerge from this program like the champion he truly is.
"We support UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones' decision to enter a drug treatment facility to address his recent issue. 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."
Before his April fight at Baltimore Arena at UFC 172 against Glover Teixeira, Jones and his management team requested that the Maryland State Athletic Commission do surprise drug test leading up to the bout. He has been an advocate for eliminating performance-enhancing drugs and steroids from the sport.
Jones told MMAjunkie: "I've been pretty verbal about being against steroids. It's easy to say that you're against it and maybe have people question you. I don't know, I'm not the thickest guy muscle-wise, but it makes me feel good to have people see that I haven't taken anything, that I'm not on anything and that this fight is going to be played out clean."
Last month, Jones and UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey signed an endorsement contract with Reebok. There was no word whether Tuesday's news would affect his deal.
Jones is the brother of New England Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones and Indianapolis Colts defensive end Arthur Jones, a former Raven.
Baltimore Sun news services contributed to this article.