Jon Jones has been stripped of his title, and Daniel Cormier is once again the UFC light heavyweight champion.
The UFC elected to make the change after the California State Athletic Commission overturned Jones’ UFC 214 victory over Cormier to a no-contest earlier today. The CSAC decided to change the record after it was confirmed Jones’ B sample contained the steroid Turinabol.
The news was announced on UFC Tonight.
“Dana White called me today,” Cormier said, speaking on UFC Tonight. “And he said if it’s a no contest, then the fight didn’t happen. … Because of that, the championship is getting returned to you. The fight is a no contest, if [Jones] cheated, he could not have fought and cheated and still won the fight. Once again I’m the UFC champion.
“Now, people will say stuff like ‘you got handed the belt’,” he continued. “He cheated, and the reality is I don’t want this title when I was going to be in a championship fight anyways. Financially, it’s just a big difference if I don’t fight as the champion as opposed to fighting for the vacant title.
“I’m taking the belt. … It’s the right thing to do.”
BREAKING: Daniel Cormier says Dana White will reinstate him as UFC light heavyweight champion! Thoughts? https://t.co/Ai6eOUAh07
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 14, 2017
The UFC followed the announcement with a brief statement:
“UFC was informed Wednesday that the result of the UFC 214 bout between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier on July 29 was overturned by the California State Athletic Commission. The ruling changes the Jones ‘win’ to a ‘no contest’ following a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an in-competition sample collected after Jones’ weigh-in on July 28, 2017.
As this was a title bout, Cormier will be reinstated as UFC light heavyweight champion.”
It’s the latest in an absolutely shocking turn of events.
Jones return and win at UFC 214 was supposed to be one of triumph. By defeating Cormier, long considered his greatest rival, Jones had once again cemented his position at the top of the division and the sport. Now, his reputation is once again in tatters, and although an arbitration process lies ahead, it seems likely to be a tall order for Jones to come through this incident unscathed, short of exceptional reasoning by his team.
As for Cormier, it’s the second time he has become the 205-pound champion, and the second time he’s done so after losing to Jones. While the UFC were not necessarily obligated to make the move, it’s clear the CSAC ruling made them feel in a position where to leave Jones as champion going forward would be untenable.
Now, Cormier will lead the division forward, with the most likely contender being Alexander Gustafsson. In the meantime, Jones and his team continues to protest his innocence, and will now go through his due process in an attempt to prove that.