UFC Exec Jeff Novitzky Defends Jon Jones and Lays the Groundwork for His Return to MMA Competition

Jeff Novitzky, the UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, has done it again. Novitzky is making the interview rounds in order to defend Jon Jones from doping allegations, explain why he doesn’t deserve a lengthy punishment and prepare mixed martial arts fans for Jones’ return to competition.

Novitzky went on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast on January 3, 2018 in an attempt to play the “mitigating or aggravating circumstances" card when discussing Jones’ doping history.

“I don’t necessarily think that we put up a four-year sanction for a second-term offense when the first-term offense was shown that that person didn’t cheat intentionally – just operated with careless disregard,” Novitzky said.

Novitzky trivialized Jones’ first anti-doping violation. But he didn’t mention that Jones’ first doping offense involved the use of a contaminated Cialis product distributed by All-American Peptides. Novitzky obviously knows that All-American Peptides is a company that manufacturers numerous banned drugs to athletes and bodybuilders such as  clenbuterol, ephedrine, IGF-1 LR3, GW-50516, TB-500 (Thymosin Beta 4), GHRP-6, RAD-140, LGD-4033, YK-11, MK-677, ipamorelin, exemestane, Arimidex, tamoxifen citrate and clomiphene citrate. But Novitzky apparently doesn’t care.

And for Jones’ second potential anti-doping violation, Novitzky has incredulously played the no-one-could-be-that-stupid card in order to proclaim Jones’ innocence against the latest charge of intentional doping.

“It would not make a lot of sense for an individual, a UFC athlete, especially a championship contender like Jon Jones who knew, ‘I’m tested quite regularly in this program’ – it would not make a lot of sense that that would be your drug of choice if you’re trying to cheat,” Novitzky said. “I think it’s come out after the fact that USADA did another test on Jon a month or two months after his positive test, and he was negative. So that would be indicative that the prohibited substance entered his system sometime after July 7th or 8th, and that was likely a pretty small amount and that cleared his system pretty quickly.”

This was not the first time that Novitzky went so far out on a limb on Jones’ behalf. In October 2017, Novitzky made similar comments in an interview with Bruce Buffer on the “It’s Time” podcast.

“[Oral Turinabol] was a substance where a few years ago would only be detectable for a few days within the system,” Novitzky told Buffer. “Now laboratories have found longtime metabolites tests, where metabolites can be detected four maybe up to six months after use… So, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that anybody with any level of sophistication would choose to use this drug… It would not make sense to go to this drug because of the multi-month detection window. So, that would leave me to believe that it was probably from non-purposeful ingestion.”

Novitzky established a reputation as a no-nonsense government agent who would stop at nothing to bring down professional athletes that he suspected were using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). UFC hired Novitzky to window dress its seriousness about stopping steroid use in MMA with the appointment of a supposed hardline anti-doping crusader to a prominent post in the organization. But no sooner than Novitzky started receiving big fat private sector paychecks dwarfing his government salary, Novitzky sold out.

Novitzky seemed eager to do what is best for the UFC bottom line even if it meant compromising his much-heralded, but apparently overrated, integrity as an anti-doping warrior. Novitzky probably knows its not a good idea to bite the hand that feeds. 

Novitzky was conspicuously silent during the Brock Lesnar doping fiasco. Of course, UFC’s willingness to bend its anti-doping rules to ensure a financial windfall from a Lesnar fight has always been indefensible. But now Novitzky hasn’t simply sold out through his inaction. He is now actively doing the UFC’s bidding in undermining its WADA-inspired anti-doping rules.

Further Reading:

Marrocco, S. (January 3, 2017). Why UFC's Jeff Novitzky doesn't believe Jon Jones intentionally used steroids. Retrieved from

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