‘USADA backtracked on Jon Jones, that’s f***ing nice, but I lost millions’ – ex-UFC champ Frank Mir
In April 2016 Mir tested positive for metabolites of oral turinabol in a case that was strikingly similar to the situation that later affected current light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
But while Jones and anti-doping officials have been working together, using Jones as a test case through comprehensive testing, Mir's career was hit hard by a two-year suspension as the Las Vegas heavyweight tried and failed to get clear answers about his situation from both the UFC and their anti-doping administrators, the United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA).
It's something that still rankles with the former UFC heavyweight champion, who in 2018 joined Bellator after his suspension was up. "I think the similarities arethe test itself is not that well understood," Mir, 39, explained, talking to RT Sport via Skype.Also on rt.com Jon Jones cruises to victory over Anthony Smith at UFC 235
"I'm screaming all these things, the same things Jon's camp are screaming but, for whatever reason, I'm less believable - a less credible witness - I guess.
"Jon is one of the greatest fighters in the world, pound for pound, but to be a less credible witness, that bothers me a little bit. That stings."
Anti-doping agencies have studied the case of Jones, who returned from a 15-month backdated ban at the end of last year to claim the light-heavyweight title.
Jones' case sees his system displaying microscopic levels of the M3 metabolite, which shows without the presence of the parent compound of turinabol, the banned substance.
The recurring appearances of the M3 metabolite were described as a "pulsing effect" and are a new discovery in the world of anti-doping.
It's something that administrators are still learning about, using Jones as a testing guinea pig as he undergoes a comprehensive multi-agency testing program while being cleared to compete, despite the occasional presence of the M3 metabolite in drug tests.Also on rt.com UFC 232 switched from Las Vegas to Los Angeles after Jon Jones submits abnormal drug test
But while Jones is allowed to compete, Mir was publicly labeled as a drug cheat and left on the shelf while trying to fight his case, dealing with a testing phenomenon that, to that point, had not been fully identified and understood.
"That's the issue I have with it," Mir explained.
"They're still learning how the test works. I don't think that you should have a test in the protocol that's going to affect people's careers - take two, four years away from them - and not fully understand it.
"And now they're backtracking with Jon. 'Well, you know, some of the tests are positive, some of the tests are negative. We don't quite understand. It's this pulsing'.
"It just brings in too many questions, and I feel bad for Jon in that sense. He's had his issues that were self-imposed, and here's one that really isn't his fault, and we're in the same boat in that situation where the science doesn't really understand, but they're doing hard-core sanctions."
There has also been the suggestion that Jones is not the only UFC fighter to have been flagged for the same pulsing M3 metabolites. But unlike Jones and Mir, USADA and the UFC have opted to keep the identity of the athlete private while further investigations are conducted.
"Now I guess there's a new guy who has the metabolite found in his system, but they won't release his name until they figure out what's going on," said Mir.
"Well, that's f*****g nice. I wish they'd have done that for me."
Now in the veteran stage of his mixed martial arts career, Mir is looking to continue his career with Bellator MMA as he bids to capture his first victory since 2015.
But seeing how Jones and his case has been treated seems to be the last straw for Mir, who is looking to take legal action against USADA, who he says "should know better what [tests] they are using."
"[I want to take action against] USADA for giving the instructions on what's going on, and not really utilizing the test.
"I mean they are the scientists, they should know better what they are using, and know that a lot of the other tests that they are having, have been groomed… and have been thoroughly studied, understood, evaluated," he said.
"But the UFC too. I have issues with them. They do things that are… you know… they use information but… for example they do dirty things like… You have an athlete under the contract, not allowed to work anywhere else.
"He’s suspended? Yeah. But he could get the ball rolling or maybe start looking for work in other areas, but no! You keep him under contract and then at the end of his suspension he gets a release letter and now he knows, yeah?
"So I’m not really happy about their conduct either," he added.