John Kavanagh says he has no worries that Conor McGregor might make similar bad choices as Jon Jones because the Irish fighter doesn't lack motivation.
The MMA world was rocked this week with the news that UFC light-heavyweight Jon Jones tested positive for cocaine metabolites.
The ‘out of competition’ test was conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on December 4th, 4 weeks from Jones title defence against Daniel Cormier.
MMA fans and commentators have been expressing both support for Jones, who checked himself into rehab, and curiosity about what punishment might be served on Jones. In the past the UFC has taken a tough stance on athletes caught using marijuana and performance enhancing drugs like testosterone replacement therapy and steroids.
Kavanagh believes that the Dubliner is far too motivated to go down the same route as Jones.
"I think it comes down to motivation, what makes you want to do it," he told Independent.ie "Maybe if you are motivated by fame or money, then you can find yourself going down that path, but if you are motivated because you love the sport then it's different.
"For example I believe if you give Conor $1bn, he's still going to turn up for training the next day because his motivation is he really enjoys being on the mat and training.
"But if motivation-wise you wanted to hit a certain number, you wanted to have €5m-€10m in your account and once you hit that you quit and start the party lifestyle because you didn’t enjoy the process, you just enjoyed the rewards."
As the dust settles it seems this case may fall between a number of stools. Firstly, as the test was ‘out of competition’ cocaine is not listed on the banned list. If the test had been ‘in competition’ meaning 12 hours from the bout, a sanction may have been imposed. Also, the NSAC has since revealed they may not have been authorised to test for cocaine while the subject was ‘out of competition’.
Jones was signed by the UFC after compiling a 6-0 record in four months in 2008. His first UFC fight was taken on two weeks’ notice and two years later, after going 5-1 in the UFC, Jones landed a title contender eliminator fight against Ryan Bader.
After blowing Bader aside, he was then fast tracked to a title shot after an injury forced Rashad Evans out of his championship fight with Shogun Rua in 2011. After one of the most one sided and devastating beatings in a title fight, Jon Jones was crowned the new UFC light-heavyweight champion three years into his MMA career, at the tender age of 24, the youngest in the promotion’s history.
Jones is a classic case of falling victim to the trappings of the bright lights and party scene that often accompanies of a rising sports star. We recently spoke to SBG head-coach John Kavanagh and asked him if he was concerned Conor McGregor might ever get distracted from MMA by the lure social circuit.
Conor McGregor headlines the UFC event in Boston next week and while the Irish star believes he will win in less than two minutes against Dennis Siver, his coach is confident it won't last that long.