This Saturday’s massive UFC 200 pay-per-view took a hit yesterday when it was announced that light heavyweight star Jon ‘Bones’ Jones would be removed from the event, and his planned return fight with Daniel Cormier is off the cards in Las Vegas. WWE monster Brock Lesnar’s return to the Octagon against knock-out artist Mark Hunt has been upgraded to the main event. The move was announced by UFC boss Dana White following news that Jones was informed by USADA, an anti-doping agency of a drug-test violation on June 16th.
Jones will be able to challenge the violation in court, but for the time being his fight this Saturday is not happening. The response online from MMA fans has been a lot of anger and disappointment. Jones was stripped of the UFC Light-Heavyweight Championship prior to a May 2015 title defense, due to his invovlement in an hit-and-run incident with a car he was driving. Cormier would replace Jones in the fight, defeating Anthony May for the vacant championship. This is the fourth time that Cormier and Jones were set for a fight. Twice in the past, Jones pulled out due to injuries. Jones defeated Cormier in their only fight in January 2015 via unanimous decision. After that fight, it was revealed that Jones had failed a drug test a month prior testing positive for cocaine. These two fighter’s stories have been so tied together by all this drama outside the cage.
“From a competitive standpoint. From a financial standpoint. There are a number of ways in which this is disappointing. I really don’t know exactly how to explain how I’m feeling right now.” said Cormier in his press conference on Wednesday night. In an interview on Thursday afternoon, White stated the UFC is seeking to find a last minute replacement opponent for Cormier to face on Saturday’s mega-show. There was some internet chatter that English fighter Michael Bisping would take the fight but White ruled that out.
Jones held his own press conference on Thursday to respond to the allegations. “I want to first start by apologizing to all of the fans who came out and supported me for UFC 200, and obviously the UFC and the Fertittas for not being able to perform. I know they spent a lot to promote this event. Daniel Cormier, I want to apologize to Daniel Cormier. I know that this fight means a lot to him. The fight means a lot to me and the fight is not happening. So I just want to apologize everyone sincerely.” said Jones. Jones was described as emotional during the conference with tears in his eyes.
MMAFighting had extensive coverage in the video below.