LOS ANGELES >> UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson already wasn’t a big fan of Jon Jones, and the champion’s positive drug test for cocaine use only reinforced the Swedish contender’s opinions.
“I think it’s really bad for the sport,” Gustafsson said Tuesday. “It’s bad for the organization. We’re supposed to be role models. You’re supposed to stay above that sort of thing. … He’s a role model. He (has) to face the consequences of what he’s done.”
Gustafsson (16-2) lost a thrilling unanimous decision to Jones in September 2013, and he is in line for the next shot at the champion if he beats Anthony Johnson (18-4) in Stockholm next weekend.
But Gustafsson and Phil Davis, his training partner and fellow 205-pound contender, were surprised and confused by Jones’ positive test for cocaine metabolites this month. Jones made an immediate trip to drug rehabilitation following his victory over Daniel Cormier on Jan. 3 and the subsequent revelation of the results from a test taken a month before the fight.
While condemning Jones’ apparent use of illegal drugs, Gustafsson also said he didn’t have a problem with the UFC allowing Jones to fight Cormier despite already knowing the test results. Gustafsson claims he wouldn’t be bothered if he lost a bout to a fighter subsequently revealed to be a cocaine user.
“At the end of the day, it’s still a fight, and (Cormier) lost that fight,” Gustafsson said. “Jones did good in that fight, and he should have all the credit for that.”
Gustafsson also said Jones did “nothing spectacular” to beat Cormier.
Davis is a bit mystified Jones hasn’t faced any punishment for his actions — and that the UFC allowed him to fight Cormier despite knowing he had tested positive for cocaine metabolites. The UFC and the Nevada Athletic Commission have said Jones wasn’t subject to punishment because cocaine isn’t on the list of out-of-competition banned substances.
“I feel like it all needs to be explained to me, so I know when it’s OK to do cocaine and get away with it,” Davis said in a broadly sarcastic voice. “So I can do cocaine right now? Cool. Now, when does that period stop? Twelve hours? Why didn’t you tell me this? Halfway through the night before (a fight), I need to stop?”
Jones’ mother, Camille, recently told WBNG-TV in Binghamton, New York, that Jones spent only one night in drug rehab, and he plans to attend the AFC championship game in Massachusetts on Sunday. His older brother, Arthur, is a defensive lineman for the Indianapolis Colts, and his younger brother, Chandler, is a defensive lineman for the New England Patriots.
Gustafsson and Davis have both criticized Jones’ conduct and perceived arrogance in the past, joining a long line of fighters who don’t get along with the mixed martial artist widely considered the sport’s pound-for-pound best.
Davis beat Gustafsson by submission at UFC 112 in April 2010, but the Swedish ex-boxer and the former Penn State wrestler have since formed a tight-knit training camp in San Diego.
Gustafsson and Davis spent Tuesday morning in training at the famed Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, meeting trainer Freddie Roach during their session. They leave for Sweden on Monday, but their body clocks won’t need much adjustment: The UFC show will be held in the middle of the night in Sweden to maximize its U.S. television audience, and the fighters will just stay on the same schedule they’ve been keeping in California.
Gustafsson is determined to stay focused on his dangerous bout with “Rumble” Johnson, who could derail his long-anticipated rematch with Jones. Gustafsson nearly got the rematch last September, but a training injury forced the UFC to promote Cormier into the spot.
“Every single (fan) asks me about Jon Jones,” Gustafsson said. “But I don’t even make an effort to answer questions about him, because that’s not the real threat here. If I don’t beat (Johnson), I’ll never get the chance to beat Jon Jones.”