Jon Jones has been withdrawn from UFC 200 after it was confirmed that he has failed a drug test, leaving the biggest show in MMA's history in disarray.
Interim UFC light heavyweight champion Jones was scheduled to appear in the main event against reigning light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in a unification bout, but as a result of Jones's anti-doping violation, the fight has been cancelled. A statement from the UFC just three days before the event confirmed that the fight was off, leaving fans both angry and frustrated after seeing initial negotiations for a Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz rematch at UFC 200 fall through.
Jones, widely regarded as the No 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, was brought back from a lengthy absence caused by a hit-and-run criminal charge that saw him stripped of the light heavyweight title, before being reinstated to the UFC in October last year. A UFC statement, issued by the UFC's vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky, read: "The UFC organisation was notified tonight that the US 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 tested positive for benzoylechgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in the build-up to his first bout with Cornier at UFC 182 in January 2015. However, because the drug was not on Usasa's banned substances list, Jones was able to continue with his plans to fight and tested clean on 23 December 2014 before the match to prove the substance was out of his system. Cormier confirmed on Wednesday night that he would be willing to fight a short-notice replacement, although the UFC suggested that may not go ahead after announcing Brock Lesnar's comeback fight against Mark Hunt as the new main event for UFC 200.
"As a result, the three-round heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will become the UFC 200 main event," the statement added.
UFC also confirmed that any fans who wanted a refund on their tickets would have their request accepted. After announcing the surprising news at a UFC 200 press conference, president Dana White admitted that while he will look for a new opponent for Cormier, the lack of time makes it a very unlikely outcome.
"When you have the biggest, baddest fight card ever assembled, you know, it doesn't sting as bad when you lose a fight," White said. "But it stings real bad for Daniel Cormier. This is devastating to him, his family, and I'd like for him to fight another guy."
Speaking next to White, Cormier added: "I've trained hard and long. If anybody would fight, I would fight. Why not? I understand the difficult task it would be to find me a fight on two days. I'm willing to fight up, put on some weight, 225, 220 (pounds). I'll fight. It doesn't matter. I just can't fight a really big guy, because I've been shrinking my body."
"I've worked really hard to prepare for this. You take care of what you need to take care of, that's what I did. More than anything, it's really disappointing.”
By Jack de Menezes - The Independent/July 6, 2016
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.