THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/27: Jon Jones gets handsy at UFC 232 press conference, USADA knew of Jones abnormality in August, and more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Jon Jones (photo credit Joshua Dahl © USA Today Sports)

Pre-fight press conference notes

UFC brought the show to California this week and was able to get a pre-fight press conference in amid all of the chaos surrounding the move of UFC 232 and Jon Jones’ test results. Of note from the presser was Jones’ behavior during the traditional faceoff for photographers.

As the two faced off, separated by Dana White, Jones offered his hand for Alexander Gustafsson to shake. Gustafsson obliged. White then brought out a UFC title belt to hold between the two which Jones then grabbed and held up for photographers and the crowd in attendance.

Prior to the faceoff, Gustafsson made it clear what he thought about Jones’ recent testing abnormality that led UFC 232 to be moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. When asked if he thinks Jones is cheating, Gustafsson was clear with his answer.

“Yes I do,” he said (transcribed by MMAJunkie). “This guy is not confident. He has to put (expletive) in his body to be confident. That’s all it is.”

“I’m glad you believe that,” Jones replied.

Gustafsson is steadfast in his own confidence heading into Saturday night though.

“He will eat it on Saturday night. I’m telling you. He will eat everything on Saturday night.”

Meanwhile, Dana White wasn’t overly apologetic towards fighters who will now have to pay higher taxes and medical fees now that the fight has moved from Nevada to California.

“It is what it is,” White said at the press conference. “It’s either that or not fight and nobody gets paid anything. It is what it is. We had to move it. It’s costing everybody more money. It is what it is.”

At the end of the day, White feels that the move was the right move to make, despite any struggles it may cost fans or fighters.

“Listen, it’s not an easy decision to make,” White said. “You have to pull the trigger and you’ve got to make moves.”

USADA knew of Jones’ test abnormalities

UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitsky appeared on “The Joe Rogan Experience” today and revealed that the trace amounts of turinabol that appeared in a recent Jon Jones drug test in Nevada were showing up in USADA tests as far back as August. Eight picograms of the substance appeared in an Aug. 29 test while 19 picograms appeared in a Sept. 18 test. Jones then tested clean four times before the turinabol appeared again earlier this month.

Novitsky also said that Nevada didn’t necessarily feel compelled not to license Jones or put on the fight but that “out of an abundance of caution” they wanted to have a public hearing on the matter. UFC, of course, opted to just bring the entire card to California and keep Nevada out of it for the time being.

Press Conference Video

UFC 232 Embedded

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