A ruckus surrounds the UFC and its year ending event UFC 232. Headliner Jon Jones tested positive for a trace metabolite ahead of the event. Due to the metabolite being consistent with the Jones’ 2017 failed drug test, per USADA. The organization concluded that the athlete did not violate the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, allowing the fight to continue.
USADA provided a statement on the situation.
As a result of this, the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to license Jones for UFC 232. They also provided a statement via Sean Sheehan.
Change in Scenery
All this prompted the UFC to move the event from Las Vegas to The Forum in Inglewood, California. Of course, this change in scenery on a weeks notice poses many problems for all involved, especially fans and fighters. According to a report by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, multiple fighters and managers only discovered about the change in venue on Twitter.
I’ve talked to multiple UFC 232 fighters and/or their reps and every single one said they found out about the location change via Twitter (or some other form of social media).
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 24, 2018
The Double Champ Weighs-In
Several fighters took to social media following the news. Notably, heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier made his thoughts known on the matter.
He tested positive again!
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) December 23, 2018
— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) December 24, 2018
Understandably, Cormier is less than pleased with the entire situation. This marks the second time the former ‘double champ’ spoke out against USADA in recent months. When Jones received his punishment from his 2017 positive drug test, ‘DC’ was also upset with the circumstances. So much so, he said on UFC Tonight, “When it comes to USADA, they can’t come to my house anymore at 6 am… USADA, don’t come to my house anymore. You don’t need to.”
Askren Joins the Conversation
Ben Askren opened up on the situation and Jones in particular. Although, he did tag the wrong one in his post.
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) December 24, 2018
The recently signed undefeated fighter raised an interesting point. Jones did refuse to enter WADA testing after the CSAC (California State Athletic Commission) advised he do so recently. At the UFC 232 media conference call, Jones opted not to comment on his choice to forego entering the WADA pool.
Askren then followed up with another post. This one more in the form of a jab.
Remember that time Dana said @jonjones would never main event again…. um yeah
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) December 24, 2018
Fighters Competing on UFC 232
Fighters competing on the card also chimed in on the matter. In particular, some concerns drew from family and fans who booked flights and hotels in Las Vegas. Among fighters competing on UFC 232 like Megan Anderson, Cris Cyborg, and Brian Kelleher, former UFC flyweight, Iann McCall also spoke on the displacement of fans and family.
So, a family from Sweden plans a trip to Vegas to support ?? Star @AlexTheMauler at #UFC232 -What do they do now? What a mess for everyone on the card. Dude just keeps making friends. Inglewood, Inglewood always up to no good.
— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) December 24, 2018
For international fighters like Alexander Gustafsson, the strain tightens measurably. Cris Cyborg, another fighter with international reach posted on social media about travel and hotel conflicts.
— Cris Cyborg Youtube (@criscyborg) December 24, 2018
Brian Kelleher, whom competes on the preliminary portion of the card, found himself in a similar situation. The east coast fighter had family attending the Las Vegas event. They now seem to be displaced.
Can I have some of Jon Jones purse though as reimbursement to the family that I have flying down to Vegas and the hotels booked ? @ufc
— Brian Kelleher (@brianboom135) December 24, 2018
While he wasn’t international, the change in location caused a massive issue for Corey Anderson. Anderson competes on the main card of UFC 232. He faces Ilir Latifi in a bout critical to the forward development of his title aspirations. As luck would have it, Andersons wife is pregnant. Even without the uprooting of the PPV events venue, a pregnancy during the entire process of a fight is less than ideal. Anderson posted this statement to Twitter.
Former UFC fighter and Project Spearhead Interim President, Leslie Smith drove home the point. She referenced the need for fighters to collectively bargain with the UFC.
UFC fighters until you organize and collectively bargain you're going to keep having your divisions threatened, entire card moved (costing you and your friends thousands of dollars), you'll get cut, get shafted, lied to, brushed off, fed to wolves, left on the shelf..
— Leslie Smith (@LeslieSmith_GF) December 24, 2018
Megan Anderson was a bit blunt with her frustration.
Thanks Jon… pic.twitter.com/OyuepFQZMd
— Megan Anderson (@MeganA_mma) December 23, 2018
As was Tim Means.
— tim means (@MeansTim) December 24, 2018
Michael Chiesa looked less worried than others. The fighter danced in a video posted to Twitter.
— Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) December 24, 2018