After a drug test detected trace amounts of the banned substance turinabol in Jon Jones’ system, the UFC has been forced to move Jones’ title fight with Alexander Gustafsson — and the entire UFC 232 card it is headlining — from Las Vegas, Nevada, to the Forum in Inglewood, California.
Speaking to MMAjunkie, UFC President Dana White gave his take on this chaotic situation. He maintained that Jon Jones is most likely innocent.
“I haven’t heard anything negative about Jon Jones leading up to this fight – nothing,” White said. “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 also assured that this card has not been moved to keep Jon Jones in a fight that wouldn’t have been sanctioned in the state of Nevada. He reiterated what we already know, that Jon Jones has not technically failed a drug test, but that the Nevada State Athletic Commission simply didn’t have time to investigate this “atypical finding.”
“We wouldn’t do it,” White assured. “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?”
In his statement to MMAjunkie, Dana White also explained that the UFC is going to take a massive financial hit as a result of this Jon Jones situation. He expected a $6 million gate had the card occurred in Las Vegas as planned, but now expects a $1 million gate at The Forum.
White added that fans that bought tickets for the UFC 232 card in Las Vegas will be refunded, and that tickets for the relocated UFC 232 card will go on sale posthaste.
Stay tuned for more details on this Jon Jones, UFC 232 drama as information emerges.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/23/2018.