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The Plot Thickens: Jon Jones’ Test Results Also Reveal Abnormal T/E Ratios, Hormone Levels [UPDATED]

While there’s been a lot of hubbub (rightfully) made about Jon Jones’ positive test for cocaine and the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s subsequent bumblefucking of his case, it’s taken (some of) us a couple days to see another, perhaps greater abnormality in Jones’ sample. Also, I just used hubbub and bumblefuck in the same sentence and probably deserve some kind of award for that.

As you already know, Jones’ two tests on December 4th both came back positive for traces of cocaine metabolites, with his follow-up test on the 18th coming back clean. All three tests, however, showed significantly lower than usual levels of testosterone, which for a young athlete of Jones’ level is unusual to say the very least.

Jones’ first test (the “watery” sample) is pictured above. As you can see, Jones’ testosterone levels measured at 59ng/dL, and his epitestosterone levels measured at 170ng/dL. This raises several red flags, as the range for epitestosterone is usually similar to that of testosterone (hence the 1:1 T/E ratio that is considered normal). Jones’ second and third tests are after the jump.

Now, there are a few possible explanations as to why Jones’ T/E ratio could come back so abnormal…(as BloodyElbow’s Iain Kidd theorizes):

What possible explanations are there for such odd results? Well for the low testosterone there are plenty. The normal levels are those taken first thing in the morning. If Jon Jones was tested late in the day, his levels would be slightly lower than normal anyway. If the tests came after a strenuous training session, this would lower them even further. Certain drugs, especially opiate based painkillers, can also have a very significant, though temporary, effect on testosterone levels and production.

I am personally unaware of any natural reason for epitestosterone to be so much higher than testosterone. Readings such as this are typically seen as red flags for drug testing agencies, as exogenous epitestosterone (that is, epitestosterone administered from an external source, not produced naturally by the body) is banned due to its use as a masking agent. Athletes were using epitestosterone to ensure their T:E ratios would not be too high on standard urine tests, leading to the ban by WADA and other organisations.

As every website reporting on these levels have noted, none of these explanations should be considered fact until all the information is out there. Considering that NSAC executive director Bob Bennett told reporters yesterday that the lab responsible for testing Jones might *also* have screwed up in regards to what he was actually tested for, it’s too early to really start lobbing any potentially libelous claims Jones’ way.

Jones’ second test is below. Although his T levels had risen to a much more normal 180ng/dL, note his higher-than-average 610ng/dL E levels.

His December 18th test, on the other hand, still shows a lower-than normal 180ng/dL, but his epitestosterone levels are off the charts at 2000ng/dL.

So what does this mean? Well, at the risk of being forced to print another retraction, we’ll just say that the results possibly indicate that an external/synthetic form of epitestosterone could be behind Jones’ abnormal samples. But as Kidd continues:

It has to be noted that urine testing for testosterone levels is significantly less accurate than blood testing. All three tests appear to be urine tests only. It’s also possible that the concentration/dilution of Jones’ urine mean his levels look abnormal. It should not affect the relative ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone, though. Nor do I believe it would explain the drastic change in epitestosterone level between his December 4th and December 18th test, since his testosterone levels do not show the same rate of increase.

Of course, there’s an easy way to put all of these rumors to rest, as Dr. Johnny Benjamin and Victor Conte have both pointed out on Twitter. By using a carbon isotope test on Jones’s stored samples, NSAC would be able to accurately determine if he was using synthetic testosterone or epitestosterone, which could result in an even bigger shitstorm for the much-troubled champion. Of course, the NSAC being NSAC, these tests will likely never happen. Which…

Again, we will hopefully have more definitive answers regarding Jones’ case when the NSAC meets next Monday.

Related: Oh, had we forgotten to mention that there’s a possibility that Jones perjured himself while speaking in front of the commission back in September? Because yeah, that too (via MMAFighting):

Jon Jones told the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) in September that he lost his Nike endorsement due to a brawl he had with Daniel Cormier during a press event in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Last week, Jones backtracked from that statement and now the Nevada deputy attorney general is reviewing whether or not Jones perjured himself under oath at the hearing, MMAFighting.com has learned.

NAC executive director Bob Bennett said the commission is aware of Jones’ comments prior to UFC 182 and the matter has been sent up the ladder.

“They’re considering it for review,” Bennett said. “It’s nothing new to us.

“It would be concerning if anyone lied during testimony.”

According to Jones himself, he “definitely worded it wrong.”

“Nike did not drop me because of that fight and I kind of owe an apology to Nike for saying they dropped me because of the fight.” said Jones during a media conference call. “They actually didn’t. Nike has been known to support its athletes through much worse things than a brawl in the middle of MGM [Grand].”

So basically, I’ve just used a lot of words to describe the past couple months of Jon Jones’ life, when it can all be summed up in a 3-minute song.

[UPDATE] 

Oh, thank God. As it just so happens, the Nevada State Athletic Commission *did* get around to carbon isotope testing Jones’ samples, and they all came back clean of any signs of synthetic testosterone. (via MMAFighting):

Bennett told MMAFighting.com on Thursday that the CIR test was conducted on all three Jones urine samples, and there was no presence of synthetic testosterone.

“His urine samples were tested, and according to our doctor he doesn’t have a concern with the results of the urinalysis test at this time,” Bennett said.

In fact, Bennett said the CIR test will also be conducted on the urine samples Jones provided on UFC 182 fight day, last Saturday night. Bennett expects the in-competition drug test results to arrive within the coming days.

And we really want to take your word for it, Bennett. We really do. But given your recent history, we’re gonna go ahead and wait until the test results are released to put an official stamp on this one.

-J. Jones

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