The UFC’s gamble paid off.
Jon Jones’ comeback after the debacle that followed his 2017 win over Daniel Cormier almost didn’t happen. A USADA drug test that found a picogram of M3 metabolite jeopardised Jones’ return bout against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 last month.
This necessitated the UFC moving the entire event to California instead just a week before, with sanctioning by the Nevada State Athletic Commission becoming an issue.
The fight went ahead in California as Jones recaptured the light-heavyweight title, and good news for all concerned came in yesterday when it was confirmed that ‘Bones’ passed multiple post-fight drug tests.
Now more positive news has emerged, with Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reporting that UFC 232 cleared over 700,000 pay-per-view buys.
This would be the second largest buy rate for the UFC in 2018 by quite a margin, though it does pale into comparison with the 2.4 million UFC 229 did in October.
Nonetheless, it signifies why the UFC continue to indulge Jones’ controversies, with the 31-year-old proving to be quite the draw. As the likes of St. Pierre and Rousey depart the scene, the UFC continue to be reliant on Conor McGregor in this regard, with Brock Lesnar’s status still unclear.
It’s now down to Jones to have a clean run in 2019, something which the UFC will be as keen on as the man himself.