Bellator president Scott Coker may not have a vested interest in Jon Jones but he definitely has a stake in the rules and regulations enforced by the California State Athletic Commission.
Coker, who promoted fights around San Jose for several years with both K-1 and Strikeforce, returns to California this weekend for Bellator 214, which features the finals of the Heavyweight Grand Prix.
Ahead of the event, Coker was asked his opinion of the California Commission’s recent decision to license UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones for a fight despite the fact that he still showed trace amounts of a steroid metabolite in his body.
The commission argued with statements from the drug testing lab as well as USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) representatives that Jones didn’t take steroids recently but rather this was a ‘pulsing’ effect from a previous ingestion ahead of his 2017 fight against Daniel Cormier.
Still, Coker doesn’t like that a fighter with performance enhancing drugs in his system — no matter how miniscule — was allowed to compete in the state.
“I called [California State Athletic Commission executive director] Andy Foster, it was a private conversation. I’d like to leave it at that but just from a company standpoint, I think it’s very disappointing,” Coker said on Thursday. “You go out there and you put your reputation on the line for health and safety and all the weight cutting things that we’ve always supported the commission and will continue to support the commission but if a fighter has PED’s in him, he’s got PED’s in him. That’s how I feel. To be the judge, jury and executioner now, it’s a little bit challenging for me to accept but it is what it is. I always say we’re going to go by the commission rules and we will continue but I don’t think that was the right call and that was his call to make.
“Really in the commission, in the 32 years I’ve been with the California Commission, I think this is one of the few times I’ve ever said ‘hey, this is not right’. We’ll see what happens with that.”
Jones ultimately won his fight against Alexander Gustafsson by third round knockout.
Earlier this week a drug test administered to Jones the day before his fight by VADA (Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency) came back positive for trace amounts of those same metabolites found in his body previously.
Foster confirmed that the commission would not seek any punishment against Jones for the latest positive drug test.
Obviously, Coker disagrees with the decision to allow Jones to fight and it appears he voiced his opposition when speaking to Foster about how the entire situation unfolded.
Coker’s next event on Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood will be overseen by the California State Athletic Commission.
Do you agree with Scott Coker and his assessment of how the California Commission handled the Jon Jones situation? Sound off in the comments and let us know!