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Emotional Jon Jones apologizes for potential UFC 200 doping violation, denies taking PEDs, vows to appeal

It’s a different fight now for UFC interim heavyweight champion Jon Jones (22-1-0).

Jones, along with manager Malki Kawa faced the media this morning  in a grim and emotional press conference at the MGM Grand to address his UFC 200 potential anti-doping sample violation.

Jones denied taking any banned substances and pledged to get to the bottom of the violation and appeal it.

His unification bout with Daniel Cormier has been pulled and Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt is now the main event for the card, which takes place Saturday July 9th.

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Jones apologized to the UFC, opponent Daniel Cormier and the fans for the situation, which has aroused previous questions about Jones and his redemptive journey from suspension and insobriety.

Kawa reiterated Jones’ denials and added that Jones passed eight drug tests successfully since December of 2015 and was not tested since June 16th. The substance flagged by USADA was a metabolite of a banned PED and the the “B” sample is currently being tested today but “expects” to be given the results of it tonight. Details of the metabolite was not released.

Jones suggested during the press conference that tainted supplements might be a possible explanation. He left the press conference briefly to gather his emotions.

USADA informed the UFC late Wednesday evening of Jones’ infraction.

“It’s super, super disappointing,” White said during the late Wednesday evening press conference. “It was a brutal phone call.”

“I had a very bad feeling in the pit of my stomach,” Cormier added. “To hear something like this is very sad from a competitive and financial standpoint. I don’t know exactly to explain how I’m feeling right now.

“I’m just very disappointed. I’ve worked really hard to prepare for this. You take care of what you can take care of and that’s what I did. More than anything, I’m really disappointed.”

It’s possible a replacement could be found for Cormier, but UFC 200 is now less than two days away.

Jones was stripped of the light-heavyweight belt on April  28th of 2015 when he was involved in a hit-and-run incident. Previously, he was fined $25,000 USD for testing positive for cocaine metabolites in a pre-UFC182 drug test and pleaded guilty to a 2012 misdemeanour charge of driving under the influence.

He was reinstated by the UFC in October of 2015.

Jones “B” sample will be tested in accordance with USADA regulations for confirmation. He could face a potential two (2) year suspension from the UFC.

The UFC issued the following statement from its 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.

Ticket refunds available upon request at primary point of purchase.

 Asked by media if he knows what will happen to his interim belt, Jones answered that he didn’t know and that he imagined it would be vacated by the UFC.
Social media reaction was swift.

Jones will hold a press conference this morning at 8:30AM PT/11:30AM ET to respond.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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