Fight fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier finally stepped into the octagon for their long-awaited rematch at UFC 214.
There was tension in the air, and not just from the rivalry shared by the two pound-for-pound greats. Jones’ history of personal issues had led to the cancellation of a previous rematch between the two. This resulted in the creation of the interim light-heavyweight championship, which Cormier won from Anthony Johnson.
Once nagging concerns about another cancellation were put to rest the night of the fight, fans were treated to a spectacular showing. After two close rounds, Jones dispatched Cormier in the third after rocking the champion with a head kick. Jones remains the only man to defeat Cormier, making this the first time Cormier had been stopped in 21 professional bouts.
While fans got their rematch, it seems they won’t be able to enjoy it without asterisks and controversy. UFC President Dana White recently announced that Jones had tested positive for a banned substance, though he did not mention specifics.
An in-competition sample was collected from Jones at the July 28th weigh-ins, a day before the fight. White, who is normally never shy about voicing his thoughts on business, was well aware of the devastating consequences of this test result, saying: “I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to say about this one.”
Jones’ behavior has landed him in hot water with White before. When he tested positive for banned substances in June 2016, White had mentioned he had no desire to speak with Jones. For years, Jones’ greatness in the octagon has been rivaled only by his struggles outside. The apparent drug test failure is merely the latest chapter in an ongoing saga.
Jones became the youngest UFC champion in history when he defeated Mauricio Rua by TKO at UFC 128 in 2011. He had already finished then-undefeated Ryan Bader that same year, and went on to gain victories over Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida. Jones finished both former champions in emphatic fashion, throwing his name onto the list of pound-for-pound greats in the course of a year.
There’s no denying that Jones is still at the top of the mountain in terms of skill level. However, the young star has admitted that his rise to fame caused him to make some poor decisions. In December of 2014, Jones tested positive for cocaine. The next month he checked into a rehab facility for only a day.
Two months later, Jones was involved in a hit-and-run accident when he rear-ended a car. The driver, who was pregnant during the time of the accident, sustained injuries. Jones fled the scene, returning to his vehicle only to grab money and drug paraphernalia.
Officials who oversee drug-testing policies for the UFC have said Jones does have the right to submit a B-sample to contest the finding. Jones and his camp seem devastated and shocked by the news, with some even going as far as to call the result a “set up.”
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