Daniel Cormier is “very disappointed” – as are fans who planned to bet on UFC 200 – but apparently Jon ‘Bones’ Jones “got caught with (his) pants down…” again. The Interim UFC light heavyweight champion has been pulled out from the unification fight he was scheduled to have with incumbent champion Daniel Cormier on Saturday, July 9th at the landmark event in Las Vegas, due to a potential drug violation. This means at least two things; Dana White might or might not find another opponent for Cormier (UFC Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping has already thrown his hat in the ring), and Lesnar vs. Hunt is now the main event – but wasn’t it always, really?
“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,” the company said in a statement. In an unfortunate turn of events, Jones – who was the UFC betting favorite to beat Cormier – tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition sample taken June 16th. In all fairness, though, the UFC Anti-Doping Policy affords all fighters a full and fair legal review process before handing any sanctions. However, since UFC 200 is only a couple of days away, the company decided to err on the side of caution and just pull Jones out and make Brock Lesnar the main event, which is the way it should have been from the very beginning. Ticket refunds are available for people who bought them, though what compensation can be made for people who were going to bet on UFC 200?
Of course, arguably no one is more affected by the news that Daniel Cormier. DC had obviously worked and trained very hard with the goal to avenge his lone career loss, which came at the hands of Jones at UFC 182 on January 3rd, 2015.
Nevertheless, Cormier is willing to fight someone else, as long as it makes sense for the organization and for himself. Unfortunately for both Cormier and the company the timing, to put it bluntly, sucks. On the other hand, this is the 22nd change to an UFC main event or co-main event so far this year, so at this point they know to roll with the punches. More importantly, White should be commended for his efforts to keep the sport clean and transparent. And as he said, “when you have the biggest, baddest fight card ever assembled, you know, it doesn’t sting as bad when you lose a fight.” And the biggest, baddest man on the planet too, I might add.
Jones has never tested positive for a performance-enhancing drug before, but his track record is not what you’d called pristine – including a hit-and-run and indulging in a bit of cocaine. Thus, this new development is yet another hurdle on his path to redemption. And while he has the right to appeal any positive test, the fact remains that fans who were going to bet on UFC 200 have been deprived of their promised main event.