UFC interim light heavyweight champion Jon Jones (pictured) just can’t get out of his own way. Just three days before Jones was to try and unify the 205-pound crown against champ Daniel Cormier at UFC 200, Jones was pulled from the historic event for “potentially” violating the anti-doping policy on a June 16 drug test.
UFC president Dana White made the announcement during an impromptu press conference. White said the heavyweight scrap between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt, who were originally slated to co-headline Saturday’s extravaganza, will now get top billing.
White said he was just informed about Jones’ latest setback a few hours ago and hasn’t spoken with the troubled 28-year-old. White added that they are trying to find a last-second replacement in order to keep Cormier on the card. Cormier, who is the former Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix champ, said he would be willing to go up to a 225-pound catchweight contest in order to remain in the lineup.
It is unknown if Cormier will still be paid if a substitute isn’t located.
Cormier said he is “devastated” that he won’t get a shot at avenging January 2015’s unanimous decision defeat to Jones.
The UFC partnered with the USADA to conduct year-round, in- (six hours before and after fights) and out-of-competition drug testing on all UFC fighters. The screenings included urine and blood.
Under the UFC’s new policy, first-time offenders for performance-enhancing drug will receive a two-year ban, four years with “aggravating circumstance.” The suspension is doubled for the second offense and double of the second penalty on the third offense.
Marijuana and other recreational drugs will only be tested in-competition. These failed screenings will result in a one-year suspension, two years for aggravating circumstance. The suspension is doubled for the second offense and double of the second penalty on the third offense.
It is unknown what substance(s) Jones may have tested positive for. The USADA, the independent third-party the UFC hired last July to conduct year-round drug testing on their entire roster, does not test for recreational drugs in out-of-competition tests.
Jones has never flunked a drug test for a performance-enhancing drug.
Although, Jones tested positive for cocaine three days after beating Cormier at UFC 182. Despite claiming he wasn’t addicted to cocaine, Jones checked himself into a rehab facility, only to bail the next day. Earlier this year, Jones admitted he was addicted to marijuana, but claims to have been sober since last April’s felony hit-and-run arrest where a pregnant motorist suffered a broken arm.
That wasn’t Jones’ first incident behind the wheel. The UFC’s most decorated light heavyweight champ was arrested in May 2012 for driving while intoxicated in New York after wrapping his $190,000 Bentley around a telephone pole. After pleading guilty, Jones was fined $1,000 and had his driver’s license suspended for six months.
The UFC had enough after Jones’ hit-and-run incident and temporarily suspended him and stripped him of his belt. Cormier subsequently beat Anthony Johnson to claim the vacant crown.
Jones was reinstated by the UFC after accepting a plea deal in September to serve 18-months probation. In his return to the cage, Jones post a lackluster win over Ovince St. Preux in April for the interim title.
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada hosts UFC 200.
Here is UFC 200’s revised agenda:
(UFC Fight Pass 6:45PM ET/3:45PM PT)
Takanori Gomi vs. Jim Miller
Gegard Mousasi vs. Thiago Santos
Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez
(Fox Sports 1 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Sage Northcutt vs. Enrique Marin
Rapahel Assuncao vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Johny Hendricks vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Cat Zingano vs. Julianna Pena
(Pay-Per-View 10PM ET/7PM PT)
Daniel Cormier (UFC light heavyweight champion) vs. TBD
Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne
Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar (For UFC interim featherweight title)
Amanda Nunes vs. Miesha Tate (UFC bantamweight champion)
Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt