The inevitable finally happened. Jon Jones has been stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title for the third time in his career.
The news was announced yesterday on FS1s UFC Tonight by nemesis Daniel Cormier, whose knockout loss to Jones at UFC 214 has been declared a no-contest by the California State Athletic Commission.
When Jones (21-1-1) was first flagged for the banned steroid turinabol, UFC President Dana White said he would crown Cormier (19-1-1) the new champion if Jones was suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). But when Jones initial failure was confirmed by a positive B sample, the promotion made that decision sooner.
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Dana White called me today, and he said if its a no-contest then the fight didnt happen, Cormier said. He says, One of you guys wouldve missed weight, and he wouldve won the fight, you still wouldve kept the belt. He said, Because of that, the championship is getting returned to you. The fight is a no-contest. If he cheated, he could not have fought and cheated and still won the fight. So, once again, Im the UFC champion.
Now, people will say stuff like, Well, you got handed the belt. He cheated, and the reality is, for me to say I dont want this title when I was going to be in championship fight anyways, financially its just a big difference if I dont fight as the champion as opposed to fighting for a vacant title. Im taking the belt.
Jones took to Twitter to break his silence:
Dude the truth is I would never do steroids, I put that on my children and I put that on my Heavenly Father https://t.co/i8EEbrQU5x
With stiff penalties as a repeat offender, Jones faces a possible four-year suspension from USADA and additional punishment from the Califonia State Athletic Commission, which regulated the July 29 pay-per-view event against Cormier.
Jones’ team has indicated he will appeal the positive tests, arguing they were the result of a contaminated supplement. If Jones goes to arbitration, his case could play out over several months.
The UFC released the following statement:
UFC was informed Wednesday that the result of the UFC 214 bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier on July 29 was overturned by the California State Athletic Commission, read the statement. The ruling changes the Jones win to a no contest following a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected after Jones weigh-in on July 28, 2017. As this was a title bout, Cormier will be reinstated as UFC light heavyweight champion.
Cormier did not hold back his feelings as the emotional turmoil he has gone through with Jones was lampooned by many in the social media universe.
He disqualified himself by taking a steroid before the fight, Cormier continued. So it didnt happen. I get the belt back, which is the right thing to do. And Im not only saying that because its me. Its the right thing to do. You dont cheat the sports, you dont cheat the fans, you dont cheat me. You have all the physical advantages, sir. Youre 30 years old, youre 6-4, you have 85-inch reach. Its an unfortunate situation. We had one of the biggest fights of the year, and once again this guy has made a mockery of the sport.
A lot of people were waiting for this fight!!! And now, finally, Jones is back to prove everyone that he is a really invincible champion!!! UFC 214: Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier 2 (29.07.2017) full Match
Jones has had multiple issues with law enforcement and drug testing dating back to a hit-and-run accident in April 2015 that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm. He reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and received 18 months of probation.
After fulfilling the terms of his probation, Jones returned to the cage and beat Ovince Saint Preux. A few months later, Jones again found himself in hot water when he failed a pre-fight drug test in connection with a title unifier against Cormier at UFC 200.
In November 2016, the UFC stripped him of the interim title after USADA handed him a one-year suspension. The win against Cormier at UFC 214 was a vindication battle for both and although gracious in victory, applauding Cormier and showing much respect, Jones immediately went after a match with Brock Lesnar during the post-fight interview.