clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NSAC rules on Jones-Cormier brawl and Wanderlei Silva fleeing drug test

New, comments

The Nevada State Athletic Commission called UFC LHW champ Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier in for a hearing to discuss the UFC 178 media day brawl they engaged in last month. The commission also heard from the attorney of Wanderlei Silva regarding his efforts to evade testing by the commission.

UFC Light Heavyweight champ Jon Jones and his challenger Daniel Cormier went before the Nevada State Athletic Commission today to face disciplinary consequences for their media day brawl in August.

The Nevada Athletic Commission is convening today, September 23, to determine the punishments (if any) that will be handed out to UFC light heavyweight rivals, Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones following their August 4th brawl during a press conference for UFC 178.

The hearing is live on UFC Fight Pass.

The brawl happened when the two competitors were brought up on a stage for a stare down photo opportunity.

The bout was postponed until UFC 182 in January due to an injury suffered by Jones.

Bloody Elbow will have live updates as the hearing goes on.

Jones and his attorney immediately admitted fault and asked that any fine issued be a flat fee and not based on a % of his purse "as he is one of the highest-paid athletes in the sport."

Jones apologized to the commission, to the fans and to the sports of wrestling, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu and boxing as well as the "great sport of MMA."

Jones told the commission that he had planned to make forehead to forehead contact with Cormier that he had made with other fighters Rashad Evans, Brandon Vera and others. He said that when Cormier touched his throat he felt he had to respond to show he was still champion.

Jones said his howl after the brawl was an instinctive, primal gesture, not a planned action. He said he was feeding off the excitement of the crowd and their enthusiasm for the brawl.

Jones and his lawyer said he lost a six-figure Nike deal due to the brawl and another unnamed major sponsorship offer was taken off the table.

Jones told the commission he expected to pay a financial fine. Jones told the commission that his pay for the Cormier bout will be a minimum of $500,000 with various performance bonuses possible.

Commissioner Avesino said that the incident should require more than a "slap on the wrist" and should result in a consequential penalty including a suspension and a fine that will be felt.

Commissioner Aguilar would prefer a community service action be required rather than a suspension. A second commissioner called for public community service.

Another commissioner pointed out the absence of Dana White might have played a role and that the UFC learned that "a real presence" is required.

Commissioner Brady asked for mercy for Jones due to his having already lost one of his fights this year due to injury.

A commissioner suggested a $50,000 fine and 4 days of community service.

The state Attorney General reminded the commissioners that any fine would have to go to the state general fund and could not be earmarked for special expenditures such as drug testing for the UFC.

The commissioners said they are "pissed off" at the outcome of "the last time we tried to do something non-traditional" which presumably refers to attempts to use Chael Sonnen as an advisor on drug testing and testosterone replacement issues.

The commission voted to impose a $50,000 fine on Jon Jones and 40 hours of community service term in lieu of a suspension.

Cormier then appeared before the commission. His attorney said the NSAC was under pressure from the media due to the "non-sporting event actions of athletes" and he pointed out that "this is not a domestic violence situation, not a drunken driving situation and not a brawl between a professional athlete and a non-professional. Rather it was a brawl at an event designed to promote a fight."

Cormier's attorney says that he is standing by his filing that the brawl was a self-defense action on Cormier's part and that his client is not at fault.

In his statement, Cormier began by pointing out that "Jon and I have had a history. We've had issues in the past. This was the first time we'd stood together face-to-face as opponents."

Cormier continued, "A champion like Jones, he's a guy like Anderson Silva or Cain Velasquez, he doesn't do a lot of public appearances. I'm on TV all the time."

Cormier also explained that there was a huge crowd of the fans were in front of Jones and he believes Jones was inspired by their energy and the intense face-off that preceded theirs (McGregor-Poirier).

Cormier then apologized to the commission and acknowledged that "I am not so silly as to believe I had no responsibility for that incident."

Commissioner Aguilera then brought up Cormier's appearance on ESPN when he was asked if he would do the same thing again and said yes.

Cormier contended that the brawl was a heat of the moment thing and not strictly a promotional action.

Another commissioner asked Cormier if he had the opportunity to do it again today if he would.

Cormier said "no. This is my moment in the limelight. I haven't done the things Jones has done in his career. I don't want to be remembered as the guy who brawled in the hotel lobby."

Cormier said that although he had no Nike deal to lose he did lose a "substantial" number of students for various programs he coaches.

Cormier said that he had had two pre-match shoving incidents in his wrestling career. In 2003 he said he got in a shoving match with a wrestler from Iran and that later in his career he got in a shoving match with a competitor.

Cormier told the commission that he had previously been very upset by Antonio Silva coming up very close in a previous staredown.

One of the commissioners asked Cormier what he could have done differently. Cormier said he could have taken a step back.

Cormier told the commission that he was surprised by the intensity of the stare down because he and Jones had been cordial backstage before the stare down.

Cormier denied that he was thinking that he would benefit from extra-PPV sales due to the brawl.

Cormier said that some of his comments on the TV show and in interviews were things he said because he is so comfortable with his "friends" on Fox Sports 1 and he shouldn't have said in public.

The commissioners discussed a possible $9000 fine as 10% of Cormier's purse to be consistent with the size of Jones' fine as a % of the fighter's purse as well as 20 hours of community service. That penalty is agreed upon.

The commission then heard from the attorney for Wanderlei Silva who dodged NSAC officials who were attempting to administer a drug test earlier this year.

The commissioners called for an indefinite suspension at the request of the Attorney Generals office which is recommending that a strong example be sent to fighters that they cannot run from drug tests.

The commission imposed an indefinite suspension/lifetime ban and $70,000 fine on Silva.