The UFC has made the decision to relocate next weekend’s UFC 232 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles following United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) test results regarding fighter Jon Jones.
UFC president Dana White announced the change on ESPN on Sunday. The event, originally set to take place at the T-Mobile Arena on Saturday, will now be held at The Forum at Inglewood, Calif. All 26 fighters on the card are expected to still fight despite the change.
A USADA test discovered an atypical finding of a Jones drug test submitted earlier this month. The test showed traces of M3 metabolite in Jones’ system, which he tested positive for ahead of his last fight against Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 in July 2017. At that event, held in Anaheim, Calif., Jones defeated Cormier for the light heavyweight title, but the decision was overturned and the bout was ruled a no contest following the revelation of the positive Jones test.
As a result, Jones was stripped of the title, fined by the state of California and suspended 15 months by the USADA. He has completed that suspension and is scheduled to fight Alexander Gustafsson for the light heavyweight belt at the UFC 232 main event.
The USADA ruled the trace amount of M3 metabolite from this month’s test is consistent with the results of the 2017 test, which led to the determination that Jones did not re-administer the drug. Still, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) was not in position to review the findings and grant Jones a license to fight in Vegas by Saturday.
“Nevada does not have the time to see us and go through a hearing to find out what California already knows,” White told ESPN. “There’s not enough time for Nevada to do this, so we’re moving the event to California where the commission has already dealt with Jon Jones. They were the ones dealing with this, and they have all the history with him.”
Jones was given a license to fight in California earlier this month. He has withdrawn his application for a license in Nevada and is expected to appear before the commission in 2019 to further discuss the matter, according to ESPN.
“Today, NSAC Executive Director Bob Bennett announced that, in consultation with NSAC Commission Chair Anthony Marnell III, unarmed combatant Jon Jones will be allowed to withdraw his pending application for licensure, which was intended to clear him to fight in a major contest in Nevada later this month,” NASA said in a statement provided to UFC and shared with ESPN.
“After extensive analysis of Mr. Jones’ prior 18 months of USADA in- and out-of-competition anti-doping drug testing results, Director Bennett, Chair Marnell and Mr. Jones agree that he will appear at an evidentiary hearing in January. This will allow for a measured, thoughtful and comprehensive discussion of his anti-doping testing protocol and results and provide an opportunity for the NSAC to determine the appropriate path forward for him in Nevada. We look forward to his hearing.”
—Field Level Media