‘Ottawa’ Jones Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Violation, Fight vs. Cormier Cancelled
LAS VEGAS — The main event of the biggest event in UFC history has been cancelled.
After months of build-up, Saturday night’s UFC 200 main event between light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and interim champion Jon Jones was cancelled on Wednesday night after Jones was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation. The announcement came just three days before the two were set to square off in a rematch of their January, 2015 fight.
The previously announced fight between former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will replace the Jones-Cormier fight as the main event.
Jones had spoken earlier in the day about living a clean and healthy lifestyle, but was informed Wednesday evening by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that he had violated the UFC’s anti-doping policy. The specifics of the test were not revealed, and it’s possible that Jones could a suspension of up to two years for the violation.
The potential violation casts a major shadow over the UFC’s International Fight Week festivities, which kick off on Thursday evening with a fight card that’s centered on a lightweight title fight between champion Rafael dos Anjos and challenger Eddie Alvarez and continues on Friday night with a women’s strawweight title fight before concluding with the blockbuster UFC 200 on Saturday evening at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena.
“When you have the biggest, baddest fight ever assembled, it doesn’t sting as bad as if you lose a fight, but it stings real bad for Daniel Cormier,” UFC president Dana White told MMAJunkie.com. “This is the way it should be. We have the best (anti-doping) program in all of sports. This is the way it should be … I kept going ‘Everything is going so smooth and nobody had been hurt,’ Everyone was healthy, so it was a pretty brutal phone call.”
The drug policy violation is the latest in a long line of transgressions for Jones, who is widely considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter of all time but has been haunted by a series of incidents outside of the ring.
He was arrested for driving under the influence in 2012 and tested positive for cocaine in the build-up to his last fight with Cormier, although the test was mistakenly administered out of competition and was not revealed until after the fight.
Last year, he was suspended by the UFC and stripped of his light heavyweight title when he crashed his car into the vehicle of a pregnant woman and left the scene of the crime. He would eventually plead guilty and avoided jail time.
But since returning to the UFC in April with a fight against Ovince St. Preux, Jones had been speaking confidently about his new, sober life and how he intended to redeem himself in the eyes of the public by living a clean, no-trouble life going forward.
He’d even criticized Cormier for repeatedly judging him for his past transgressions.
“DC said that because I used to be such a party animal that I burned my candle out at both ends and I’m 28 but really I’m 40,” Jones said on Wednesday at the UFC 200 pre-fight press conference. “I think misery loves company and I think it’s apparent that if you look at me and you look at him, you can tell he’s having a hard weight cut, you look at his face he’s all drawn-out looking, I mean, he just got over a knee injury, I feel fine I’m not even sure his knee is at 100%, I feel fine, I’ll test it out on Saturday. But, yeah, I feel great, how can you convince someone that getting sober and living healthier will make them older, I beat him in the prime of my partying, so we’ll see who is the 40 year old on Saturday.”
For his part, Cormier took to the stage Wednesday looking crestfallen.
“I really don’t know what’s next,” Cormier said.