A T-Mobile Arena employee is probably in trouble, after posting a banner and accidentally leaking a Jon Jones vs Ciryl Gane announcement. The graphic outside the Las Vegas arena read that the bout will be for the “world heavyweight championship” and will happen at UFC 285 on March 4.
Soon after the photo made the rounds on social media, MMA Fighting’s Steven Marrocco reported that the announcement was premature and the banner has been taken down.
I've been told the Gane vs. Jones T-Mobile graphic has been taken down, was a behind-the-scenes mistake. Fight not done deal.— Steven Marrocco (@MMAFightingSM) January 14, 2023
“This is a very real thing,” Helwani reported. “Not quite 100%, but could be announced as early as tonight, I’m told.”
With Francis Ngannou still not agreeing to terms and re-signing with the UFC, the promotion reportedly has plans to strip him of his heavyweight title once everything is made official.
“If they make this fight on March 4th, it will be for the vacant title. On the table right now is to strip Francis Ngannou of the belt, and make that fight for the vacant title,” Helwani noted. “Again, not 100% just yet, but moving in the right direction.”
Jones, now 35, hasn’t fought in three years, and has had contract (and legal) issues of his own since then. The former light heavyweight champion has been teasing a heavyweight move for over a decade now, but will this really be the time it actually happens?
About the author: Anton Tabuena is the Managing Editor for Bloody Elbow. He’s been covering MMA and combat sports since 2009, and has also fought in MMA, Muay Thai and kickboxing. (full bio)