Former undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion -- and current 205-pound interim kingpin -- Jon Jones has been pulled from the historic pay-per-view (PPV) main event this Saturday night (July 9, 2016) opposite Daniel Cormier. United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) notified Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), UFC, Jones and Cormier this evening that a banned substance was detected in a sample that "Bones" provided out-of-competition one month ago.
Jones, an admitted marijuana addict, was seemingly on the road to recovery before this latest personal setback. It's unclear at this time what substance was detected in his system. In addition, Jones can still insist that his "B" sample be tested to confirm or refute the USADA discovery.
Nonetheless, it's a process. One that will take longer than 72 hours to resolve, which means that, once again, a Cormier vs. Jones fight will be scrapped. In the wake of the bad news, UFC issued the following formal statement on the unfortunate matter:
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. As a result, the three-round Heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will become the UFC 200 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.
UFC urges disappointed fight fans who are in "Sin City" to watch the event live inside T-Mobile Arena to request refunds at the "primary point of purchase." The good news, at least for ticket holders and UFC officials, is that the bicentennial event is utterly stacked (check it out here). And with ticket prices climbing into another realm as showtime nears, the absence of Jones -- while unfortunate -- is not a card killer.