An abnormality in a pre-fight drug test collected from Jon Jones has forced UFC 232 to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) reported it found an “extremely low level” steroid metabolite (DHCMT) in a urine sample taken on December 9, the same prohibited substance the American tested positive for in July last year that led to a 15-month retroactive suspension.
The USADA ruled the sample was consistent with residual effects from his prior exposure and Jones obtained no performance enhancement, and therefore would not be sanctioning the former light heavyweight champion.
But a licensing issue in Nevada meant the card – including Jones’ championship shot against Alexander Gustafsson – would be moved from the T-Mobile Arena to The Forum in California, UFC president Dana White told ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Jeff Novitzky, UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance, said the Nevada State Athletic Commission did not have the time to fully investigate the issue ahead of the December 30 bout, but Jones could be granted a licence in California.
In the announcement to the sports programme, Novitzky said: “Both USADA and worldwide anti-doping experts told us this was not a re-ingestion of a prohibited substance, it was remaining effects from the July 2017 positive test – for which he was already sanctioned.”
In a statement, the USADA said: “The level reported was at approximately 60 pg/mL and there was no parent drug or other metabolites of the drug in his sample. As a result of these findings, USADA has determined that Mr Jones is not facing a violation per the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.”
Jones’s victory over Daniel Cormier at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California, in 2017 was recorded as a no-contest and the UFC stripped him of the championship belt.
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