Jon Jones Pulled from UFC 200 For Possible Anti-Doping Violation
Just days away from UFC 200, the card has suffered a major blow: interim light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been pulled from the card for a possible anti-doping violation. The main event fight between Jones and current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier is off, and Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt will now main event the card in its place.
Late Wednesday night, UFC released an official statement on the test failure:
The UFC organization was notified tonight that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Jon Jones of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on June 16, 2016. USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. However, because Jones was scheduled to compete against Daniel Cormier this coming Saturday, July 9 in Las Vegas, there is insufficient time for a full review before the scheduled bout and therefore the fight has been removed from the fight card.
Jones will have the chance to appeal, but that will take time, which means there’s nor reversing the decision to pull the fight with Cormier from Saturday night’s card. UFC president Dana White was visibly upset during the impromptu press conference, noting that Jones could face a two-year ban if the USADA ruling stands.
“This sucks,” White said. “I don’t know what to say. It sucks. It’s unfortunate.”
But few were more upset that Cormier, who was reportedly “devastated” that his chance to avenge his loss from UFC 182 has been taken off the table.
“More than anything just really disappointed,” said Cormier.
Of course, the question now is whether Dana White finds a replacement fight. Honestly, UFC 200 is still a solid card even without the Jones/Cormier main event, since we’ve got Edgar/Dos Anjos, Tate/Nunes, Lesnar/Hunt and Velazquez/Brown. But the card is undoubtedly weaker for having lost one of its biggest points of intrigue. I’m not entirely sure who Dana White could get to fight on such short notice, or if the commission would even allow it, at this point. It really is a shame to lose the fight so close to the card, but it doesn’t appear to be anyone’s fault but Jones’, unless he can somehow prove it was a tainted supplement or a false positive, or some other reasonable explanation for the test failure.
What do you think of Jon Jones being pulled from UFC 200? Sound off in the comments!
And for more on the big fight card, check out Cat Zingano’s incredible transformation for UFC 200!