For the third time in his mixed martial arts career, Jon Jones has been stripped of the UFC light heavyweight title. It is a title that he has never lost in a fight but his transgressions outside of the Octagon have, once again, cost him the coveted title.
The troubled 30-year-old was flagged by USADA for the banned steroid Turinabol stemming from an in-competition sample collected on July 28, the day before he scored a third-round knockout of Daniel Cormier. Although Jones’ camp disputed the result, his B-sample also came back positive on Sept. 12. The confirmation that Jones indeed had a banned substance led to the California State Athletic Commission overturning the fight to a no contest.
The prevailing thought was that Daniel Cormier would be reinstated as champion and that was confirmed in a statement issued by the UFC.
“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,” the statement said. “As this was a title bout, Cormier will be reinstated as UFC light heavyweight champion.”
Cormier addressed the situation on “UFC Tonight” and stated that he was told by UFC president Dana White that he would be champion once again.
“If it’s a no contest, then the fight didn’t happen,” Cormier said. “He said, ‘If one of you guys would have missed weight, he would have won the fight, but you still would have kept the belt. 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.”
With Cormier being reinstated as champion despite losing twice to Jones, the 38-year-old recognizes that there will be some criticism from fans.
“Now, people will say stuff like, ‘Well, you got handed the belt,’” Cormier said. “He cheated, and the reality is, for me to say I don’t want this title when I was going to be in championship fights anyways, financially it’s just a big difference if I don’t fight as the champion as opposed to fighting for a vacant title. I’m taking the belt.”
Jones’ future remains in doubt as he is facing a possible four-year suspension from USADA and could be subject to additional punishment from the CSAC.
Cormier was critical of the circumstances surrounding Jones and his failed drug test.
“You don’t cheat the sports, you don’t cheat the fans, you don’t cheat me. You have all the physical advantages, sir. You’re 30 years old, you’re 6-4, you have 85-inch reach,” he said. “It’s 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.”