(Reuters) - Light heavyweights Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will square off in the main event at UFC 200, Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White announced on Wednesday, snuffing out any hope Ireland’s Conor McGregor had of returning to the card.
White said last week McGregor had been pulled from his rematch with Nate Diaz on the July 9 promotion in Las Vegas after refusing to fly to the United States for a news conference and promotional work.
The Irish featherweight posted on Twitter earlier this week that a deal had been struck to get him back on the card but while White acknowledged the absence of the UFC’s biggest drawcard would upset fans, he said McGregor was to blame.
”I didn’t prevent Conor from fighting at UFC 200,“ White said at a news conference in New York. ”He knew what the deal was. I told him what the deal was. He opted to do that.
“Conor is going to fight again. He’s going to fight at UFC 201, 202, 203, whatever the deal might be.”
Former light heavyweight champion Jones returned to the Octagon after more than a year on the sidelines on Saturday with a labored points win over Ovince Saint Preux to take the division’s interim belt.
He beat Cormier in January last year but was then stripped of the title after being involved in a hit-and-run incident that saw him sentenced to 18 months probation.
Writing by Peter Rutherford; Editing by John O'Brien