Update: Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt – should it remain as the main event of UFC 200 – will still be a three round fight, per Dana White.
Now that some of the smoke has cleared, here’s what we know. Jon Jones has been flagged for a potential USADA violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on June 16, 2016.
It is important to note that Jones has not officially been charged with said violation, as a “full fair legal review process” is to be undergone before further action can be taken. Unfortunately, due to the timing of the potential violation, there is no time for the process to play out prior to UFC 200, and Jones has therefore been pulled from the card.
During an impromptu press conference, USADA agent Jeff Novitzky was the first to speak, essentially delivering the information above. Next, a visibly upset Dana White took the podium to field questions from the media in attendance. Not much information was available as the news was so recent, but it was clear that Jones was officially off the card, and Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt was to be the new main event.
Daniel Cormier shared his thoughts on the matter as well, expressing a great deal of frustration with the situation. He took the moral high ground, refusing to pile onto Jones, but doubled down on his stance that a stricter stance on PEDs is the right way moving forward.
“USADA is going to clean up the sport. We’re going to have casualties.” – Daniel Cormier
Obviously, finding a worthy replacement opponent for Cormier at this stage in the game is a difficult, if not impossible task. This isn’t to say it won’t be done, however. Everyone from Chael Sonnen to Gegard Mousasi have thrown their name in the mix. The UFC brass will undoubtedly work throughout the night to see who, if anyone, can fill in on three days notice.
I'd whip his ass. https://t.co/IoGMHgdgWk
— Chael Sonnen (@ChaelSonnen) July 7, 2016
— Gegard Mousasi (@mousasi_mma) July 7, 2016
Assuming no replacement can be found, every fight on the card will essentially move up a spot. One of the Fox Sports 1 preliminary fights will be bumped up to the UFC 200 main card, filling the void left by the cancellation of the main event. As I mentioned above, Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt will now play the role of main event, an unexpected homage to the main event of UFC 100, when Brock took on Frank Mir for the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
This is very much a developing story, and more information will be provided as it becomes available. Stay tuned.