The entire UFC 232 event has been moved from Las Vegas to California on five days notice after an abnormal drug test involving headliner Jon Jones.
During a drug test, USADA discovered traces of turinabol metabolites, but the belief is that this is in fact a residual amount stemming from the fighter’s previous violation back in 2017, which saw him banned from the sport for 15 months.
“A picogram is a one-trillionth of a gram,” the UFC’s drug chief Jeff Novitzky explained to MMAJunkie. “If you put one grain of salt on the table and split it up into 50 million pieces, a picogram is one of those pieces of that gram of salt. These levels have shown up in the single and double digits of picograms – so such a small amount.”
As such, the current belief is that Jones hasn’t actually done anything wrong and this is not a new drug test failure, but since the Nevada State Athletic Commission don’t have time to fully investigate the issue before this coming Saturday night’s event, they indicated to the UFC that they wouldn’t be able to clear him in time to fight.
However, the California State Athletic Commission are willing to let him compete and so that’s led to the UFC moving the entire event to The Venue in Inglewood, California – a shift that’s set to see them take a $5 million hit as the show in Las Vegas was set to deliver a $6 million gate, while the new venue will only rake in $1 million.
Despite the upheaval, UFC President Dana White has given his full support to Jones and believes he hasn’t done anything wrong.
“I haven’t heard anything negative about Jon Jones leading up to this fight – nothing,” White said. “He was willing to jump on a plane yesterday and go take a drug test – like, immediately. If I want to plan a PR for Jon Jones in two months, try pulling that together. It’s tough to get Jon Jones. He’s willing to do anything. So, I believe that Jon Jones is clean. He’s in fight shape, and I believe that he’s been doing the right thing.”
White also insisted that if there were any doubts then they would simply have pulled him from the card and led with the other high-profile title encounter that is currently serving as the co-main event.
“We’d pull the fight, and the (Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes title fight) would be the main event and the fight would roll. That’s it. We’d roll on. Jones would either go away forever, or – you know how I am … If these guys even doubted that something bad happened here and he was wrong or whatever, the fight’s off. We’d pull the fight. Jones didn’t do anything wrong here. All the biggest experts, the smartest people in the world that deal with this are saying that he did not cheat, he didn’t do anything. So how do we not do this fight?”