At UFC 232 on Saturday night, former light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones will make his return to the octagon after a year and a half away from the sport as he faces contender Alexander Gustafsson for the 205lb belt.
Despite the event having a number of tremendous fights including one of the biggest bouts in women’s MMA history as bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes faces 145lb queen Cris Cyborg for the featherweight title, the week leading up to 232 has been littered with controversy.
On Monday Dana White announced that the event would be moved from its original location of the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas to the Forum in Inglewood California.
Jones was unable to get a licence from the Nevada State Athletic Commission to compete in the state due to an irregularity in a drugs test which found traces of banned substance turinabol in Jones’ system – the same drug that got the 31-year old fighter a 15-month ban in 2017.
The change of location caused major difficulties to fighters and fans alike with thousands having to switch their travel plans due to the UFC’s decision.
Despite the controversy, White explained that Jones had done no wrong and that he did not cheat.
White told ESPN’s SportsCenter: “Nevada does not have the time to see us and go through a hearing to find out what California already knows.
“There’s not enough time for Nevada to do this, so we’re moving the event to California where the commission has already dealt with Jon Jones. They were the ones dealing with this and they have all the history with him.”
White added: “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?”
With Jones dominating the discussion he was fairly asked by a Swedish journalist if he was taking the focus off the event itself and the other fighters involved, a question which the 22-1 fighter clearly took exception to as you can see below.
What did you make of Jon Jones' behavior towards a reporter who asked about his latest drug-test situation during the #UFC232 press conference?
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) December 28, 2018