Well it’s happened. We were all sat around waiting for something to scupper UFC 200, but three days out from the event, there were no injuries and all seemed in place for the event of a lifetime. The main event of Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier to unify the Light Heavyweight title has dominated the MMA headlines and their hatred for one another has been nothing short of entertaining for us fans. Well fuck my royal boots, Jon Jones has done it again and tested positive for a banned substance in a pre-competition test. The UFC swiftly pulled the Cormier/Jones fight and Lesnar vs Hunt has been promoted to the main event.
There is no doubt Jon Jones is a phenom. At 22-1 (his only loss being a bullshit disqualification in a fight he was dominating), and being the youngest ever champion in UFC history, Jones is probably the greatest talent the MMA world has ever seen. He has all the attributes of an incredible martial artist. He can out strike the strikers, he can out wrestle the wrestler and can submit the submission specialists. While he has the attributes of a champion, he doesn’t act like a champion. Jones could go down as the greatest of all time, but his only obstacle is himself. His troubles have been well documented over the past couple of years, being caught taking cocaine after beating Daniel Cormier in their first fight, a hit and run on a car which a pregnant woman was driving, a stint in rehab (I say stint, an overnight stay) and being suspended and stripped of his Light Heavyweight title in April 2015.
Jones returned nearly a year to the day after being suspended in April 2016 in an interim Light Heavyweight title fight against Ovince St. Preux as Cormier was out injured at the time. Cormier had won the title in a fight against Anthony Johnson during Jone’s suspension. Jones won that fight in a one sided decision win, even though he didn’t look exactly at the top of his game. Either way Jones assured the fans and the UFC that his past was behind him. Jones said at a press conference “Over the last year I’ve had the opportunity to kind of be alone and work on my character outside of being an athlete and I’m excited to get back in here, get on the right track and put on some exciting fights for you fans”.
I’m sure many people bought into it, but Daniel Cormier didn’t. When talking face to face with Jones during their appearance with Joe Rogan on Counterpunch (good watch on youtube) Cormier stated “His history determines and dictates that the same thing is going to happen. That is his character, that is him at his core”. Many may have thought that Cormier just wanted Jones to look stupid and hype the fight, but reality is, Cormier seems correct.
Whilst there has been no word from Jones or his camp yet, nor has the USADA or UFC released a statement to say what he has tested positive for. If he’s been partying, he’s an arrogant idiot. If he’s been juicing, he’s a cheat. It doesn’t look good either way.
So where do the UFC go now to replace Jones for Cormier. Dana White says that a new opponent could be on the cards for Cormier, but on three days notice, it seems unlikely. However as usual Michael Bisping has stepped up and said that he wants the fight going to twitter to say “2 months, 2 weeks, 2 days…… Hmmm middle vs light heavy???? I stand by my words. I’d do it!”. This is an interesting fight and would definitely get the buys in for the event. Bisping is a polarising character, but he comes to fight and it would be a great fight for the fans. Who knows…..Bisping could be the first ever simultaneous two weight champion. I’m intrigued….
It would definitely iron out some issues for the UFC. Dana White claimed that “This is devastating to Daniel Cormier mentally and physically…he just went through a camp…and financially. This pay-per-view is trending to be massive, and he shares in that revenue, so it’s devastating to him in every way it could possibly be”. For me Cormier is owed as least his pay to show, it is not his fault that Jones decided to fuck things again, but at the same time he needs to compete, stay sharp and also get out some of that tension and anger he must be feeling right now. It wouldn’t be bad to have those PPV shares either. However for those reasons it could also be a mistake, he could be fighting for the wrong reasons and lose his belt to somebody he could usually beat every day of the week. Let’s see how these next few days play out, but I wouldn’t expect to see Cormier fighting.
Another question that needs to be asked is, what does this now mean for Jon Jones and the UFC? To be honest who knows. This time Jones has really done it, not only has he shown his arrogance once again, but before the biggest event in UFC history. An event which was supposed to be saved by the Cormier vs Jones fight as the new main event after the whole McGregor debacle a couple of months back. The UFC big wigs must be furious. The UFC can’t exactly release the best MMA pound for pound fighter of this generation and let him fight for another promotion, but they can’t exactly promote him either. Jones has had countless chances over the past few years to turn himself around and he just throws it back in their faces. For me he needs to have a lesson in humility. He needs to be taken out of the title picture, put on the prelims and made to work for any shot given to him in the future. The UFC really should be promoting a champion like Cormier – a family man with good morals and an extremely hard work ethic. He may not be the most naturally gifted MMA star, but he is tough, gritty and pulls out the win. He is a trier, if he fails, he tries again until he gets the win. Alas I feel none of this will happen. Jones will be suspended, he’ll come back, they’ll promote him again and he’ll win again. Then he’ll let them down again. You can’t really blame them either, people want to watch him, usually to see if he’ll lose.
It really is a tragedy for the most talented fighter and a guy with more natural capabilities in MMA than Anderson Silva even had. Sort it out Jones or you’ll just be the guy that could have been.
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