UFC 232 will go on as scheduled next weekend, but the event will have a new venue thanks to Jon Jones.
MMAJunkie reports that an "atypical finding" in a drug test administered to Jon Jones earlier this month has led the UFC to move UFC 232 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.
A trace amount of Chlorodehydromethyltestosterone (DHCMT), or turinabol, was reportedly in Jones' system. This is the same substance Jones tested positive for in 2017, which led to him being suspended for 15 months.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission would not clear Jones to fight next weekend as they do not have the proper time to investigate the matter. As a result, the UFC is moving the entire card to The Forum in Inglewood, CA as the California State Athletic Commission will approve a license for Jones.
Jones was allowed to withdraw his fight application with the NSAC in order to fight in California. He will appear in front of the NSAC in January.
The NSAC issued the following press release on the manner:
Today, Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Executive Director Bob Bennett announced that, in consultation with NSAC Commission Chair Anthony Marnell III, unarmed combatant Jon Jones will be allowed to withdraw his pending application for licensure, which was intended to clear him to fight in a major contest in Nevada later this month
After extensive analysis of Mr. Jones’ prior 18 months of USADA in- and out-of-competition anti-doping drug testing results, Director Bennett, Chair Marnell and Mr. Jones agree that he will appear at an evidentiary hearing in January. This will allow for a measured, thoughtful and comprehensive discussion of his anti-doping testing protocol and results and provide an opportunity for the NSAC to determine the appropriate path forward for him in Nevada. We look forward to this hearing.
Jones is scheduled to fight Alexander Gustafsson for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title in the main event of next weekend's card.
ESPN's Ariel Helwani noted that Gustafsson had already been in Las Vegas for a week and was on a four-hour helicopter ride around the Grand Canyon at the time the news broke and likely wasn't even aware of the change. UFC fighters, including an outspoken Megan Anderson, mentioned that she wasn't informed of the change and UFC didn't initially make an official announcement about the move.
Helwani also reports that CSAC head Andy Foster was informed of the UFC's desire to move UFC 232 on Friday night. Foster collected the data and orchestrated a surprise urine test for Jones, who passed it. Foster also stressed that the metabolites found were long term and believes Jones is a clean fighter.
UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky said Jones’ positive test is not a USADA violation and that Jones has been cleared to fight. Novitzky believes the test is a “pulsing” effect and not a new ingestion of the substance that he tested positive for after defeating Daniel Cormier at UFC 214.
USADA filed an official statement, which you can see below.
USADA Statement on Jon Jones Sample and UFC Anti-Doping Policy pic.twitter.com/GAlrwYS0gh— USADA UFC Anti-Doping Program (@USADA_UFC) December 23, 2018
Dana White backed Novitzky in saying Jones did nothing wrong.
UFC 232 is scheduled for Dec. 29. Fightful will provide live coverage of the event along with a post-show podcast.