What's the worst that could happen? It happened. Jon Jones has been pulled from the main event of UFC 200 after being flagged for a potential violation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
Jones, the interim UFC Light Heavyweight Champion was scheduled to meet Champion Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 200 Saturday in Las Vegas. However, Jones has been abruptly yanked from the card, and Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt was made the three-round main event, before that was changed to Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes
"Maybe someone will pop up and fight Cormier at the last minute," UFC President Dana White said. "Stranger things have happened."
Jones has not been declared guilty by any means. A test was administered on June 16, 2016, and results showed a violation. Jones has the option to have a “B” test sampled. USADA has had issues in recent months in regards to tainted supplements causing violations.
White noted that he'd not spoken to Jones' representatives or Jones himself, but said the news was disappointing if true. White said that he felt great remorse for Daniel Cormier.
"This is devastating for Daniel Cormier," White explained. "Not only mentally and physically, he just went through a camp, and financially, this pay-per-view is trending to be massive, and he shares in that revenue. He's devastated."
Michael Bisping, Gegard Mousasi, Sam Alvey, Ilir Latifi, Tom Lawlor and other names all volunteered to face Cormier on two days' notice, before Anderson Silva stepped in.
Despite the huge inconvenience, Dana White says he doesn't regret the decision to employ USADA.
"No, this is the way it should be," White said. "We have the best program in all of sports and this is how it should be."
Jon Jones was stripped of the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship after an April 2015 hit-and-run incident in New Mexico, for which he is still on probation for.
First, Jones apologized to his longtime rival Cormier. This is the third time the two have had a fight canceled.
"I want to first start by apologizing to all of the fans who came out and supported me for UFC 200, and obviously the UFC and the Fertittas for not being able to perform," Jones said Thursday. "I know they spent a lot to promote this event. Daniel Cormier, I want to apologize to Daniel Cormier. I know that this fight means a lot to him. The fight means a lot to me and the fight is not happening. So I just want to apologize everyone sincerely."
While Dana White kept Daniel Cormier on the card, he still stood to earn significantly more against Jon Jones.
Jones said that despite the USADA violation, he doesn't want to be labeled a cheater – something he says hurts him.
"I've been taking the same supplements for the majority of my career and I've been so outspoken about being against any type of performance enhancers," Jones explained. "I'm still to this day against performance enhancers. And so the one thing that sucks, being labeled as someone who cheats, it hurts me more than anything else I've ever been through in my career."
The dominant light heavyweight Jones could face up to a two-year suspension for the violation, which occurred because Jones tested positive for two substances, according to UFC President Dana White. Jones said that he wants the process of appeals to play it's due diligence before people judge him.
"I wouldn't cheat. That's not who I am. "For all of the people who believed in me, continue to believe in me, because this story isn't over and the best is yet to come," Jones said.
"Let's figure out what this is before passing judgement and figure out what's going on. I think people who are fans of mine know that I'm a fighter, and that adversity is not something that defeats me and I am hard to be broken."
Jones was emotional during the press conference, even walking out for several minutes before returning.