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Jon Jones Removed From UFC 200 Over Doping Violation

Jon Jones King of the Ring!!! via Flickr.


Jon Jones Removed From UFC 200 Over Doping Violation

UFC Interim Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones has been pulled from his upcoming title unification match with Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 this Saturday, after news of a potential doping violation came out on Wednesday.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency informed Jones on Wednesday of the possible doping violation, after Jones tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition sample that was taken June 16th by the USADA. Jeff Novinzky, UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance, spoke to reporters about the result at a press conference for UFC 200 yesterday. Said Novinzky:

“The UFC organization was notified tonight that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has informed Jon Jones of a potential anti-doping policy violation that stemming from an out-of-competition collection sample from June 16th, 2016. USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle results management, and appropriate adjudication of this case.

It is important to note that under the UFC anti-doping policy, there’s 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 9th, 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.

As a result, the three-round heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will become UFC 200’s main event. Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information, or UFC statements will be provided at the appropriate time, as the process moves forward.”

Jones, who has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, can appeal the test. He tested positive for Cocaine right before his fight against Cormier in January of 2015. Jones also served a six month suspension last year, after his involvement in a hit-and-run accident.

UFC president Dana White, who appeared at a loss for words at the press conference, stated that he would like to find Cormier a new opponent for the event, but that given the timing, it would provide some difficulty. Said White:

“When you have the biggest, baddest fight card ever assembled, you know, it doesn’t sting as bad when you lose a fight. 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.”

Cormier, who was sitting next to White at the press conference, expressed his disappointment at the development, saying:

“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.”

Cormier did also express that he would accept a new fight if the UFC found one that “made sense”, continuing:

“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.”

Had Jones tested positive for any PEDs, he would have received a two-year suspension, which is consistent with the UFC’s anti-doping program. As to whether or not the fight will be rescheduled remains to be seen, although, the UFC will be paying close attention to the developments in the case.

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