The UFC has announced that they’ve stripped long-time light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones of his title and suspended him indefinitely, effective immediately.
“UFC announced that it has suspended Jon Jones indefinitely and stripped him of the light heavyweight title as a result of violations of the organization’s Athlete Code of Conduct Policy,” an official statement from the UFC reads. “Jones was recently arrested in Albuquerque, N.M., on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury. As a result of the charge and other violations of the Athlete Code of Conduct Policy, the organization believes it is best to allow Jones time to focus on his pending legal matters.
“UFC feels strongly that its athletes must uphold certain standards both in and out of the Octagon. While there is disappointment in the recent charges, the organization remains supportive of Jones as he works through the legal process.”
Pressure had been building on the UFC to take decisive action this time around after the 27 year-old Jones was seen to have gotten off lightly after testing positive for cocaine during a pre-fight drugs test prior to his last title defense at UFC 182 back in January.
On that occasion the UFC fined him $25,000 and publicly supported him in his decision to enter rehab, but then turned a blind eye when he spent just one night getting treatment before leaving, insisting that that he wasn’t a frequent drug user and had, “just made a dumb decision.”
This time around he’s facing far more severe punishments, not least of which is the possibility of up to three years in jail if found guilty of his charge.
“Got a lot of soul searching to do,” Jones wrote on Twitter last night. “Sorry to everyone I’ve let down.”
So, with Jones out of UFC 187 next month and no longer the 205lb champion the UFC have had to make new plans and they’ve quickly put them in place.
“FC has determined that No. 1 contender Anthony Johnson will now fight No. 3 contender Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight championship at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas.”
Even though he’s coming off an unsuccessful title challenge earlier this year, Cormier was the obvious replacement for Jones to fight Johnson for the belt as ‘Rumble’ had already beaten current No.2 contender Alexander Gustafsson back in January, and the No.4 ranked Rashad Evans is currently still sidelined as he continues to rehab his knee following surgery.
So, despite all the turmoil the world keeps turning and UFC 187 remains a stacked show with Johnson Vs Cormier headlining to crown a new king of the light-heavyweight division, while Chris Weidman defends his middleweight title against Vitor Belfort in the co-main event of the evening.