Interim UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones was pulled from UFC 200 late last night after testing positive for a banned substance.
Jones was scheduled to face off against Daniel Cormier in a title unification bout this Saturday, July 9th, 2016, however that match is no longer on the card. The USADA took an out-of competition sample on June 16th, which has come back positive.
Jones is denying any wrongdoing, and has a right to appeal the findings, however the appeals process would not be complete so close to the pay-per-view, making it impossible for him to be cleared in time for the fight.
Jeff Novitzky, UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance, spoke on the matter. “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,” Novitzky said. He also added there wouldn’t be enough time for a full review prior to the fight.
Meanwhile, UFC President Dana White stated he is looking to see if he can find a matchup for Daniel Cormier, but on such short notice it will be difficult.
“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.”
Cormier is understandably heart-broken about the news, but applauds UFC and the USADA for “cleaning up the sport.”
“They didn’t have to do this,” Cormier said. “They decided to clean up the sport. You’re going to have casualties.”
But Cormier is open to fighting someone else. “I’ve trained hard and long,” Cormier said. “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.”
More on this story as it develops.