JON JONES’ fight with Alexander Gustafsson and the rest of next week’s UFC 232 has been sensationally switched from California to Las Vegas.
An “abnormality” over a recent drugs test sample from Jones is the reason behind the huge move for the December 30 bash.
fight with Alexander Gustafsson and the rest of next week’s UFC 232 has been sensationally switched from California to Las VegasAP
A trace of turinabol was found in the fighters system, but because Nevada State Athletic Commission doesn’t have enough time to investigate, the whole show has been relocated.
It is the same substance the 31-year-old Jones was handed a 15-month suspension for back in 2017.
He was only cleared to return to the Octagon last week.
Now the pay-per-view will take place at The Forum in Inglewood, California after plans to use the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas were axed.
Dana White has come out in defence of Jon Jones after the shock news
The California State Athletic Commission will approve a license for Jones to take on Gustafsson at the last minute.
UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky insists that this isn’t a violation by Jones, explaining that he and USADA have said that the positive test is a “pulsing” effect.
Novitzky said that there was only a “picogram” level of turinabol in Jones’ system.
He said: “A picogram is a one-trillionth of a gram. If you put one grain of salt on the table and split it up into 50 million pieces, a picogram is one of those pieces of that gram of salt.
“These levels have shown up in the single and double digits of picograms – so such a small amount.”
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The NSAC issued a statement to MMAjunkie explaining that Jones’ application for a licence has been allowed to be withdrawn in the state of Nevada so he is clear to fight in California.
The NSAC also said that Jones will go before the board in January.
There statement said: “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.”
UFC president Dana White, who has been very critical of Jones’ failed drug test past, has taken a different stand this time round as the chief launched a defence of the fighter.
He said: “I haven’t heard anything negative about Jon Jones leading up to this fight – nothing.
“He was willing to jump on a plane yesterday and go take a drug test – like, immediately. If I want to plan a PR for Jon Jones in two months, try pulling that together. It’s tough to get Jon Jones.
“He’s willing to do anything. So, I believe that Jon Jones is clean. He’s in fight shape, and I believe that he’s been doing the right thing.”
White added he would not move the fight just to keep Jones in the event, they would’ve just pulled the fight instead.
He said: “We wouldn’t do it. We’d pull the fight, and the (Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes title fight) would be the main event and the fight would roll. That’s it. We’d roll on. Jones would either go away forever, or – you know how I am – if these guys even doubted that something bad happened here and he was wrong or whatever, the fight’s off. We’d pull the fight.
“Jones didn’t do anything wrong here. All the biggest experts, the smartest people in the world that deal with this are saying that he did not cheat, he didn’t do anything. So how do we not do this fight?”