LOS ANGELES — The UFC has stripped its light heavyweight title from Jon Jones for a third time and reinstated Daniel Cormier as the 205-pound champion after Jones’ latest failed doping test.
The mixed martial arts promotion announced its decision Wednesday after the California State Athletic Commission changed the result of Jones’ victory over Cormier on July 29 to a no-contest.
Cormier lost the belt to Jones in a third-round stoppage at UFC 214 in Anaheim, California. Last month, USADA announced Jones had violated the UFC’s doping policy with a second positive test.
The California commission made its no-contest ruling after Jones’ backup sample also failed a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency test for the same substance, the banned steroid Turinabol.
Cormier (19-1) has never lost to any opponent except Jones (22-1), the troubled UFC star. Cormier held the light heavyweight title for most of the previous two years while Jones was largely sidelined by disciplinary issues.
The 30-year-old Jones could face a four-year suspension from the California commission for his second failed test, but his representatives have indicated he is expected to appeal the result by arguing that it resulted from a contaminated nutritional supplement, a defence that has worked in previous MMA doping cases.
Jones has a lengthy history of misbehaviour. After avoiding serious punishment in previous incidents involving cocaine use and a drunk-driving conviction, he was stripped of his title in 2015 after his involvement in a hit-and-run accident that left a pregnant woman with a broken arm.
He returned to the octagon several months later and reclaimed an interim title while Cormier was injured, but Jones’ belt was stripped again in November 2016, four months after he was pulled from a rematch with Cormier at UFC 200 for failing a pre-fight doping test.
Jones served a one-year suspension before returning in July, pronouncing himself wiser and more mature.