Jones pulled from fight after positive drug test

LAS VEGAS • Interim UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been pulled out from his bout with title holder Daniel Cormier in Las Vegas tomorrow due to a potential doping violation, the Ultimate Fighting Championship said on Wednesday.

The heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt has replaced the Jones-Cormier clash as the main event at UFC 200.

Jones tested positive in an out-of-competition sample collection by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) on June 16, and the bout was removed from the card because there was not enough time to review the findings before tomorrow, the statement added.

The American had tested positive for traces of cocaine before he beat Cormier in their first meeting in January last year.

UFC president Dana White said at a press conference that he was not aware if the violation involved a performance-enhancing substance.

"He's got the chance to prove himself innocent before proven guilty, but if it's true, obviously super, super disappointing," he said.

"These type of things are going to happen. It could have been a lot worse. Jones might get two years for this."

Jones was stripped of the light heavyweight title he had held since 2011 and suspended for several months after being charged in a hit-and-run case in April last year, an incident for which he was later sentenced to 18 months probation.

He returned to competition in April this year with a victory over Ovince Saint Preux to take the division's interim belt.

White will try to find a last-minute replacement fighter to take on Cormier, but is not sure whether the UFC would be able to find one in time.

Cormier, though will not be complaining.

He is likely to make millions for his share of the revenue from the UFC 200 card, which is touted as one of the biggest sellers in Mixed Martial Arts history.

"When you have the biggest, baddest fight card ever assembled, it doesn't sting as bad when you lose a fight," White said. "But it stings real bad for Daniel Cormier. It's devastating to him in every possible way."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2016, with the headline 'Jones pulled from fight after positive drug test'. Print Edition | Subscribe