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UFC 232 preview: Jon Jones likely to win a title — and an asterisk — on Dec. 29

Alexander Gustafsson is without question of one the greatest light heavyweight fighters in all of mixed martial arts (MMA), but I don’t give him much of a chance to defeat Jon Jones. After all, “Bones” still overcame the best “The Mauler” had to offer after spending most of his UFC 165 training camp inside an Albuquerque night club.

Jones beats everybody. It’s kinda his thing.

Unfortunately for “Bones,” that rule applies to himself. There’s a reason promotion president Dana White once told the combat sports media that Jones would never again headline a major UFC pay-per-view (PPV) card, because the former 205-pound champion has a knack for fucking things up before, during, and after his main events.

That’s kinda his thing, too.

So I’m not sure why White and Co. expect me to get excited for the UFC 232 extravaganza this Saturday night (Dec. 29, 2018) inside The Forum in Inglewood, California. The event has already been stained with last weekend’s switcheroo, which not only fucked over the “Sin City” ticket holders, but also put undue stress on every fighter not named Jones.

I know the UFC brass doesn’t give a shit about Corey Anderson or his pregnant wife, because business is business and the rank-and-file are both interchangeable and replaceable, but do they have to act so smug on Twitter?

Does White have to smile so much during his “Embedded” videos?

This stuff only matters for the troops on the ground. The rest of the fan base, in spite of their collective disgust, will likely tune in anyway, because Jones vs. Gustafsson is expected to be a compelling fight, for however long it lasts.

If not, the existing storyline is strong enough to extract the PPV entrance fee, which conveniently, is not refundable. If you pay for the card and it’s garbage, all you can do is whine about it on social media.

Where’s David Horowitz when you need him?

So yes, Jones is fighting this weekend and yes, most of us will be watching. It’s his first appearance since finishing Daniel Cormier in a Turinabol-fueled performance that earned him a “no contest,” in addition to a year-plus on the sidelines.

It was a tainted supplement, science is on his side, blabbity-fucking-blah.

I honestly don’t want to hear a word from Jones, White, or any other mouthpiece at UFC. “Bones” has put fans through the ringer between his drunk driving, his cocaine issues, his hit-and-run accident that injured a pregnant woman, his canceled title fights, his feel-good comeback stories that get overturned, and all the other bullshit fans have been asked to put up with.

Seriously though, the best thing Jones can do is shut up and fight, and his behavior at the UFC 232 press conference on Thursday should help explain why.

Some samples:

He also told reporters he passed a “polygram” exam.

Assuming Jones wins on Saturday night, can we even start talking about his next move? We can’t, because we’ll need to wait for another round of post-fight drug tests to legitimize his latest title reign (unlike last time). And then we’ll have to wait for “Bones” to get in front of Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) before they let him back in Las Vegas.

Some fighters miss weight over and over again, even when they change weight classes, and every time they get booked there is that pre-fight anxiety from fans about whether or not the bout is actually going to happen because the scale becomes the judge, jury, and executioner.

That’s where I’m at with Jones, and I can’t imagine I’m alone. UFC books him to compete and the first thing I wonder is how long until it gets changed, delayed, canceled, or otherwise rearranged to compensate for something stupid.

And sometimes it’s not even his fault!

“There will always be asterisks,” Jones said (via MMA Fighting). “There’s asterisks next to ‘Who’s pound-for-pound the greatest of all time?’ In my mind there is no asterisk. I was afraid of there being an asterisk next to my career when I was uneducated, but as I’m learning what this really is, I’m actually almost mad that it was even mentioned. It’s invisible. You can’t take a picogram. It’s that small, you can’t knowingly take it, that’s how small it is.”

No one would care if this was happening to a lesser draw or a less polarizing figure. You think UFC would move an event if Johny Hendricks had this take place when he was welterweight champion?

Former flyweight queen, Nicco Montano, is on a milk carton and all she did was miss weight.

Jones (22-1, 1 NC) is the greatest fighter in any weight class and has the resume to back it up. More importantly he’s a star, knows how to capture an audience, and is easily monetized by the promotion, which exists solely to make money.

Don’t give me that honor and respect nonsense. When Endeavor purchased UFC, it was to make a bunch of money (and it did). That’s why UFC 232 is being moved to Los Angeles instead of retooled to feature Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes in the main event.

“It is what it is,” White told MMA Junkie about fighters losing money after changing the location. “It’s either that or not fight and nobody gets paid anything. It is what it is. We had to move it. It’s costing everybody more money. It is what it is.”

I’m not rooting for Jones to fail and I’m not anti-UFC. But it feels like asking both parties to do their jobs is being a hater. Is the talent beyond reproach? Should White be allowed to make whatever decision is best for the bottom line and expect the fans to deal with it?

No, but that’s what happens anyway, so I guess I’ll see you all this Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET.

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