Jones out of UFC 200 over potential doping violation
(Reuters) - Interim UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been pulled from his bout against title holder Daniel Cormier in Las Vegas on Saturday due to a potential doping violation, the Ultimate Fighting Championship said on Wednesday.
The heavyweight bout between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt has replaced the Jones-Cormier clash as the main event at UFC 200, the mixed martial arts promotion company said in a statement on its website (www.ufc.com).
Jones tested positive in an out-of-competition sample collection by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on June 16, and the bout was removed from the card because there was not enough time to review the findings before Saturday, the statement added.
Jones had tested positive for traces of cocaine before he beat Cormier in their first meeting in Jan. 2015.
UFC President Dana White told a news conference he was not aware if the violation involved a performance-enhancing substance.
"He's got the chance to prove himself innocent before proven guilty, but if it's true, obviously super, super disappointing," White added.
"These type of things are going to happen. It could have been a lot worse. Jones might get two years for this."
Jones was stripped of the light heavyweight title he had held since 2011 and suspended for several months after being charged in a hit-and-run case in April 2015, an incident for which he was later sentenced to 18 months probation.
He returned to competition in April this year with a victory over Ovince Saint Preux to take the division's interim belt.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)