Yesterday, Jon Jones sent the MMA world into a frenzy when it was revealed that he had been flagged for a potential anti-doping violation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and was subsequently removed from UFC 200.
Earlier today, 'Bones' attended a press conference and released a public statement on the matter. The pound-for-pound #1, who was scheduled to rematch Daniel Cormier in a light heavyweight title unification bout for UFC 200's main event, started off by apologising to 'DC' and all the fans who flew out to Las Vegas.
"Oh man. I, um, I want to start by apologizing to all the fans, all the fans who came out to support me for UFC 200," Jones said, per Mike Drahota of Low Kick MMA. "Obviously the UFC, the Fertittas, for not being able to perform, and I know there's been a lot going into this event, all the staff of the UFC. And Daniel Cormier - I want to apologize to Daniel Cormier. I know this fight means a lot to him. The fight meant a lot to me, and the fight's not happening. I really don't know what to say. I'm really sorry about this happening."
According to Jones, who was in floods of tears at the press conference, the 28-year-old doesn't know what substance he tested positive for and denied knowingly taking performance-enhancing drugs.
"The whole situation really sucks. It really hurts a lot. You know supposedly they found something in one of my samples I have no clue what it is. I don't even know how to pronounce it. I've been taking the same supplements my whole career. And I've been so outspoken about being against any type of performance enhancers; I'm still to this day extremely against performance enhancers. The whole thing sucks because, you know, being labeled as someone who would ever cheat, it just hurts me more than anything else I've ever been through in my career. It just sucks, right now I'm kind of like, I don't really know how I feel about it."
The Rochester-born talent had tested positive for cocaine in 2015 but never flagged for performance-enhancing drugs. In an article posted yesterday, it was revealed that Jones was among the most tested fighters on the roster, submitting eight samples to the USADA since their partnership with the UFC in July 2015.
Since the UFC's revamped drug testing program, several fighters have been caught by the USADA, including the likes of Tim Means and Yoel Romero. Means and Romero, however, argued for tainted supplement usage and received a reduced suspension. It's likely that Jones will argue a similar position, as manager Malki Kawa is confident the interim LHW champion will get off lightly.
"From my preliminary understanding of it, absolutely, one hundred percent," Kawa said. "So, without saying too much more, you know, I feel like by the time this is all said and done, it'll be alright."
UFC 200 will now feature Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt in the main event and is scheduled to take place on July 9 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.