Jon 'Bones' Jones removed from UFC 200 card over potential doping violation
The biggest event in UFC history has been dealt a major blow with the news that Jon Jones' eagerly anticipated main event against Daniel Cormier has been cancelled due to a possible doping violation by the former.
According to USADA, Jones tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition test taken on June 16. UFC President Dana White announced the news in a press conference late last night.
UFC protocol, following a positive test, is to have a full investigation before pulling a fighter but since the event is due to take place this weekend, the fight had to be removed from the card before a review can take place.
The organisation made the following statement via its official website:
"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 stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on June 16, 2016.
"USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed.
"However, because Jones was scheduled to compete against Daniel Cormier this coming Saturday, July 9 in Las Vegas, there is insufficient time for a full review before the scheduled bout and therefore the fight has been removed from the fight card. As a result, the three-round heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will become the UFC 200 main event.
"Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information or UFC statements will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward."
Brock Lesnar's return fight against Mark Hunt will now be the UFC 200 main event. Jones' contest is the second marquee bout to be removed from the flagship event after Conor McGregor's rematch with Nate Diaz was axed following a disagreement between UFC boss White and the Dubliner.
This isn't the first time that Jones has courted controversy in his MMA career. Previously he served a ban between April and October 2015 after his involvement in a hit and run incident.
White said he would like to find a new opponent for Cormier but that it will be difficult to do so because of the timing of the event.
Both fighters are likely to be disgusted by the news, considering the mutual animosity that is plain to see between the two men.
Happened to see DC outside the presser. He could hardly speak. Distraught would be putting it mildly.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 7, 2016
Jones previously defeated Cormier at UFC 182 in January 2015, despite have tested positive for cocaine metabolites prior to the bout.
The Nevade State Athletic commission was unable to prevent 'Bones' Jones from taking part in the fight as the World Anti-Doping Agency had placed no ban on benzoylecgonine, the metabolite the now interim light-heavyweight champion tested positive for, according to mmajunkie.com.
If the pre-fight trash talk is anything to go by, UFC fans have been denied the opportunity to watch one hell of a fight: