he organisation’s president, Dana White, announced the dramatic change regarding the UFC interim light heavyweight champion just days before the July 9 showpiece, with the heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt the new main event.
The main event for UFC 200 is Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt. pic.twitter.com/RQU5ZcBRl9
— #UFCFightWeek (@ufc) July 7, 2016
Jones tested positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition sample taken on June 16 by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), which administers the UFC’s anti-drug policy.
With no real time to fully review Jones’ case before July 9 it was decided to remove him from the card but there will be a full review, which would include the ability to test his B sample.
Despite being considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in mixed martial arts, Jones has failed drug tests around two of his past three scheduled fights. He tested positive for apparent cocaine use before his first fight with Cormier at UFC 182 in January 2015.
Jones also served a suspension for much of 2015 after his involvement in a hit-and-run accident.
In an interview with ESPN last week, Jones had expressed hope he could turn his legacy into a positive one.
“I want to show the world that you can be down but never out,” Jones said. “I want to be a story where someone risked losing so much but ultimately turned everything around. A lot of times you hear these stories about athletes who ruined their career and they go away and no one knows what happened to them or they’re bankrupt or they end up in jail. They just ruined a great career. I want to be one of the few stories you hear where I was ruining things but ultimately turned things around and became a hero. That’s my vision for the way my story is going to play out.”
White said he’d like to find Cormier, the defending light heavyweight champion, a new opponent, but that would be difficult because of the timing.
“When you have the biggest, baddest fight card ever assembled, you know, it doesn’t sting as bad when you lose a fight,” White said. “But it stings real bad for Daniel Cormier. This is devastating to him, his family, and I’d like for him to fight another guy.”
Cormier appeared next to White during the news conference.
“I’ve trained hard and long,” Cormier said. “If anybody would fight, I would fight. Why not? I understand the difficult task it would be to find me a fight on two days. I’m willing to fight up, put on some weight, 225, 220 [pounds]. I’ll fight. It doesn’t matter. I just can’t fight a really big guy, because I’ve been shrinking my body.”
Cormier said he’d put in the effort and would accept a new fight if the UFC could find one that “made sense.”
“I’ve worked really hard to prepare for this,” Cormier said. “You take care of what you need to take care of, that’s what I did. More than anything, it’s really disappointing.”
Cormier said having USADA as the UFC’s partner in the administration of drug testing “changes a lot of things.”
“They are a great organization that is going to clean up our sport,” Cormier said.
Cormier said the UFC made a conscious decision to bring in USADA.
“They didn’t have to do this,” Cormier said. “They decided to clean up the sport. You’re going to have casualties.”
Cormier said he got a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach when White texted him Wednesday, asking him whether he could make it to the news conference.
“This guy always gives me good news,” Cormer said of White. “You know, this guy calls you with a seven-figure check — ‘dude, you’re rich now’ — you know, he calls you with good news. And the mood didn’t feel very good. It was scary. So I came here, and I was actually early. It’s probably the first time I’ve ever been early. I needed to know. But he’s usually the good-news guy. And today he had to give me some pretty bad news.”
FULL UFC 200 CARD
MAIN CARD (from midday AEST)
Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt (Heavyweight)
Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes (Women’s Bantamweight championship)
Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar (Interim Featherweight championship)
Travis Browne vs. Cain Velasquez (Heavyweight)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX SPORTS 501, from 10am AEST)
Julianna Pena vs. Cat Zingano (Women’s Bantamweight)
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Johny Hendricks (Welterweight)
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao (Bantamweight)
Sage Northcutt vs. Enrique Marin (Lightweight)
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC FIGHT PASS from 8am AEST)
Joe Lauzon vs. Diego Sanchez (Lightweight)
Thiago Santos vs. Gegard Mousasi (Middleweight)
Takanori Gomi vs. Jim Miller (Lightweight)