Lance lashes out over UFC drugs scandal
DISGRACED cyclist Lance Armstrong has appeared to weigh in on the UFC's latest drugs controversy, calling out double standards after an abnormality was found in a test sample provided by Jon Jones.
Jones was banned for 15 months last year after testing positive to banned substance turinabol, and tiny traces of the same steroid were found in his system ahead of his comeback fight at UFC 232 this weekend.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to give Jones a licence to fight, so the UFC moved the event from Las Vegas to just outside Los Angeles in California to ensure his headline title fight against Alexander Gustafsson could go ahead.
UFC vice-president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky said the abnormality in Jones' test was related to last year's infringement and was not suggestive that he had taken a banned substance containing turinabol again in the lead-up to UFC 232.
"A picogram is a one-trillionth of a gram," Novitzky said. "If you put one grain of salt on the table and split it up into 50 million pieces, a picogram is one of those pieces of that gram of salt.
"These levels have shown up in the single and double digits of picograms - so such a small amount."
Novitzky also confirmed there had been "no violation of the anti-doping program".
In a social media post by UFC commentator Joe Rogan promoting Novitzky's upcoming appearance on his podcast, Armstrong appeared to criticise Rogan's guest.
In a comment on Rogan's post that appeared to come from Armstrong's verified account, he wrote: "Aka The Star F---er. Coupla ?s - why the double standard for Jones and others? And let's get right to it - what does the science and scientists say? I think I know the answer but let's let the star f---er speak to it."
Novitzky is a former agent for the US Food and Drug Administration, which investigated performance-enhancing drugs in sports and exposed cheats such as Barry Bonds and Marion Jones.
In that role, Novitzky pursued the case against Armstrong. The American aggressively denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs in his career but was later outed as a drug cheat, causing him to be stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.
Armstrong seemed to question why Novitzky, who had been so determined to catch out drug cheats in his career, was being lenient towards Jones even though he technically had a banned substance in his system - even if it was just a small amount.
At a press conference today to promote UFC 232, Jones continued to defend himself and maintain his innocence. He also scoffed at suggestions he had paid off American drug testing agency USADA.
Gustafsson on the other hand said unequivocally he believed Jones was a cheat who "put s---" in his body.
Jones is no stranger to controversy. He was stripped of his light heavyweight strap in 2015 and suspended by the UFC after a hit-and-run incident where he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the crime.
Three days before a scheduled title fight with Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 in 2016, Jones was rubbed out for testing positive to a banned steroid. That made him the first UFC fighter in history to be stripped of his title twice.
The news only got worse even after he defeated Cormier in their rematch midway through last year at UFC 214. The fight was declared a no-contest when Jones once again tested positive for banned steroids and copped a 15-month ban.
Cormier was quick to react when news of the latest chapter in Jones' unique career broke, taking aim at Novitzky and casting doubt over those defending his bitter rival.