SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/23: UFC 232 moved to California after Jon Jones drug test results, Askren comments on relationship with Dana White, Adonis Stevenson update

By Cole Henry, mmatorch Contributor

Jon Jones (photo credit Mark J. Rebilas © USA Today Sports)

UFC 232 moves to Los Angeles

UFC 232 will be moving to Los Angeles after an “atypical” drug testing result came back for former champion Jon Jones. The Nevada commission has decided that they do not have time to investigate and California has agreed to clear Jones, so the bout will go on. USADA and other organizations involved in the process have stated that they believe that the positive test is due to something called a “pulsing” effect, and that the amount is so small that it’s of no consequence. UFC VP of Athlete Health and Performance Jeff Novitzky had this to say about the issue…

“There’s been no violation of the anti-doping program,” Novitzky said (via MMAJunkie). “He’s been cleared to fight in terms of the USADA program. … USADA fully analyzed it internally. They reached out to outside experts from around the world. They reached out to another sports league that has seen the same issue. And all of them, independent of us, determined that this was not a re-ingestion of the substance and this very, very small amount that was occurring and still showing up, according to these expects from around the world, did not provide any performance-enhancing benefit.”

While this is a strange occurrence and will surely draw attention, it seems as though Jones has done nothing wrong here. Regardless though it doesn’t change the fact that this makes two straight PPV events for the UFC that have suffered from major changes (231 was cancelled), and it continues a streak for Jones of being somewhat unreliable as a main event fighter. Again, this doesn’t appear to be his fault but it’s just another unfortunate occurrence amongst many.

Ben Askren comments on relationship with Dana White since signing with UFC:

Ben Askren and Dana White have not always liked each other and that’s not news. White has heavily criticized Askren in the past casting doubt on whether or not we would ever see the undefeated fighter compete on the world’s biggest MMA stage. But it seems as though Askren’s willingness to fight any and everybody has led White to soften his stance a bit at least according to what Askren told MMAJunkie…

“I think when one person and another person have a disagreement, the thing you need to do if you want to have respect for each other, is sit down and have that conversation,” Askren said. “We haven’t been able to do that so far. He’s said nice things (in) the media, but that’s also because I volunteered to do the dirty work. I volunteered to switch and be the main event against Robbie (at UFC 233), Robbie said no. I volunteered to fight ‘Marty from Nebraska’ (Kamaru Usman), ‘Marty’ said no. I volunteered to fight dumb Colby (Covington). So, he sees the value in what I’m doing, so now he’s being nice.”

It will be interesting to see how this relationship looks after Askren competes for the first time under the UFC banner.

Anthony Smith gives a prediction on Jones/Gustafson 2:

One of the top light-heavyweight fighters in the world has given his prediction on the upcoming bout between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafson. Anthony Smith told the MMA Hour that he believes Jon Jones will walk away with another victory over Gustafson. He also stated in the same interview that he is proud of his own recent success and looks forward to pushing towards a title shot of his own.

Adonis Stevenson update

For those of you that follow boxing, we have an update on the condition of former World Champion, Adonis Stevenson. Stevenson has been in a medically induced coma since losing a bout in early December. His girlfriend has given an update and announced that he is out of the coma and recovering from his injuries in private. She gave no further update than that, but it does at least refute some reports that had stated Stevenson was showing no signs of improvement and was still in a coma.

Fight of the Day

In case you missed it

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: February sees Holloway pull out of Edgar fight, Floyd Mayweather teases second McGregor fight, Chuck Liddell teases return against Tito Ortiz

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: March sees the loss of a UFC behind the scenes mainstay, and Ronda Rousey give an awkward TV interview

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