UFC 232: Jon Jones Returns, So Does Trouble
By Kieran Cobley
News broke last night that UFC 232 will be moved from The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to The Forum, just outside LA, following a trace of a banned substance being found in one of Jon Jones’ drug tests.
Fans were rightly outraged at this, with many paying excessive amounts already for tickets plus hotel and travel costs on top, and while the UFC has said they will try help resolve these issues with fans, many, including myself will see it as an empty gesture.
The plan according to rumours is for fighters to check in for fight week today (Monday) in Las Vegas before heading out to LA, with the UFC looking at a chartered plane as an option of transporting fighters, like they did for UFC 12.
But, lets look at why the UFC have done this.
Jones was found to have a trace of Turanibol in his system following a routine drug test, the same substance he tested positive for after his last fight with Daniel Cormier, which meant that the Nevada State Athletic Commission wouldn’t license him to fight in the UFC 232 main event against Alexander Gustafsson.
However, the amount in his system was so minimal that experts believe it could be a residual amount left from the last time he doped, which looks to be the stance of the California State Athletic Commision, who have granted Jones a license.
This all makes sense from the UFC stance, Jones vs Gustafsson son is a huge fight that fans have been wanting since their first fight in 2013, and to cancel it with six days notice would cause massive upset with fans, especially if a suitable replacement couldn’t be found.
But the questions have to be asked: Has Jones doped AGAIN? And would the UFC move a whole event for any other fighter?
To answer the first question, some experts think he hasn’t, but the feeling amongst some other experts is that Jones has doped again, and that sentiment is shared by fans as well.
Ari Fantom, who has a degree in molecular biology had this to say:
“If a test is sensitive enough, then these minute traces can be identified. [It] doesn’t mean that that’s all there is in the system, just that the rest of the molecules are blocked and basically unidentifiable. USADA must have created ultra sensitive tests for this to happen.”
So basically, for the “residual amount from the last time he tested positive” argument to work, USADA must have ultra-sensitive tests.
My personal belief is that Jones’ may have not intentionally doped, but been caught out by a tainted supplement. I don’t believe he would be foolish enough to intentionally dope after everything that has happened in the past few years, which would mean he would have been at the centre of more scrutiny than any other fighter.
In answer to the second question, I don’t believe this would have been done for any other fighter, except Conor McGregor, who is the UFC’s biggest draw.
This is mainly due to Jon Jones’ draw power, with many fans calling him the G.O.A.T and his style of fighting is exciting to watch to boot.
You also have to take in Jones’ relationship with Dana White, and how White has always tried to see the good in Jones, even after all his legal problems and doping.
I don’t for a second believe that the UFC would do this for a fighter like Tyron Woodley, who famously doesn’t get along with White, or Rose Namajunas, who doesn’t have major drawing power, despite being the strawweight champion.