After an 18-month ban for a positive drug test ahead of a title fight with Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones is set to make his return to the Octagon next weekend against Alexander Gustafson in the main event of UFC 232.
The fight was scheduled for T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, but has been moved less than a week before fight night to The Forum in Los Angeles, with tickets for the new venue going on sale on Wednesday. Dana White announced the move on Sunday, and the reason for the move is an issue with getting Jones a license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, per ESPN.
Jones had a recent drug test come back with a trace amount of the same metabolite that resulted in his suspension from the 2017 bout in California. USADA does not consider that a positive test, because it’s been ruled to have been a result of the original failed test in 2017, but apparently the process following such a flagged test to get a license from the NSAC won’t be able to be completed in time for the fight.
Because the original test was for a fight in California, the California State Athletic Commission will license Jones because they are already aware of the details of the first test, thus the fight will be moved. It’s the first time an event has been moved this close to fight night over a fighter’s licensing issues.
UFC clearly values this fight too much (and this fight happening immediately) to change the card and pushing the fight back. That could be because they’ll be trying to make a Jones-Cormier rematch a reality — even though neither fighter has indicated they’re interested in trying that matchup again — before Cormier retires or what, but they want this fight to happen on the December 29 card and will make that happen by moving the entire card to L.A.