This weekend’s card for UFC 200 has been turned upside down with the announcement that Jon Jones has been pulled from the event.
Jones – the current UFC Interim Light Heavyweight champion – was due to fight Daniel Cormier, but was notified by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) that he had potentially failed a pre-fight drug test and would therefore be withdrawn from this Saturday’s show.
If the test failure is confirmed, it would mean a two-year suspension from UFC.
Jones and his manager Malki Kawa have confirmed that a sample taken on June 16 contained a banned substance, though its identity was not disclosed. Jones commented, strongly denying that he took anything illegal.
“They found something in one of my samples that I have no clue what it is. I don’t even know how to pronounce it. I’ve been taking the same supplements the majority of my career. I’ve been so outspoken about being against any type of performance enhancers. To this day, I’m extremely against performance enhancers. The whole thing sucks. Being labeled as someone who would cheat hurts more than anything else I’ve ever been through in my career.”
“My management team is very aware that everything needs to be documented leading up to a fight. I just know in my heart I would never take anything that would enhance me in any way, so I didn’t feel the need to jot down anything. I didn’t really think this could ever happen.”
Jones has already requested that the USADA test the B-sample of the positive test in order to clear his name, though it is not expected that this appeal will be successful. Jones admitted that if he does end up serving the mandatory two-year ban, it will not be the end of his career in the Octagon.
“If I do have to sit out two years, I will definitely be back. I’m already thinking about the good that can happen. I’m optimistic. But man, at the end of the day, I’m a fighter. I’m a fighter. Even though I may seem broken up here, I’m not broken. I’m just really upset.”
With Jones-Cormier now off, the event is currently scheduled to be headlined by Brock Lesnar’s Octagon return against Mark Hunt.