This Saturday's UFC 200 event has been thrown into a state of disarray once again, a trend that's become all too common for the mixed martial arts organization.
The news broke on Thursday that Jon Jones had tested positive for a banned substance and would be unable to compete in his main event fight against Light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier.
The two bitter rivals were set to square off in a rematch of a bout that saw Jones defeat Cormier by unanimous decision back at UFC 182 in January of last year. Three days removed from the victory it was announced that Jon had failed a drug test for cocaine metabolites, which is not a banned out-of-competition substance according to the World Anti-Doping Agency so the fight's result was not affected.
Shortly following the event, Jones was involved in a highly-publicized hit and run incident which led not only to an arrest, but drove the UFC to strip him of his title and suspend him indefinitely.
The embattled former champion has had several run-ins with law enforcement and has been his own worst enemy throughout his young and impressive career. There's a case to be made that he's the greatest fighter to ever compete in the sport and these cases of self-sabotage have been frustrating for fans, and especially the brass at UFC. The former champ returned to the octagon at UFC 197 with a win over Ovince St. Preux, and while his performance was lackluster by his own lofty standards,the MMA community hoped "Bones" had matured and regained focus.
Friday afternoon Jon Jones and his manager Malki Kawa held a press conference to discuss the test failure and his removal from the biggest card in UFC history. During the opening moments of the presser, Jones had a hard time addressing the media, overcome with emotion and breaking down several times.
At one point he had to excuse himself from the room so that he could regain his composure, and when he returned to his seat he fielded questions for nearly thirty minutes as tears streamed down his face. He maintained his innocence, stating that he would never knowingly ingest anything that is prohibited, while Kawa said his "B" sample - a second test to confirm or contradict the results of the first - had already been submitted.
Jones offered an apology to Daniel Cormier and all of his fans, asking for his supporters to stay behind him while this all gets sorted out. If the second sample stands, Jones could be facing up to a two year suspension. When asked if he would return to the cage following such a lengthy absence, he assured everyone he'll be back.
"If it's a two year ban, I will be back. At the end of the day, I'm a fighter. And even though I may seem broken up here, I'm not broken. I'm just upset. I'm not going to let this slow me down. I won't let two years out of the game slow me down. I'll find the good in this."