By Josh Nason, WrestlingObserver.com
For years, we wondered who could beat Jon Jones for his UFC light heavyweight title. We got the answer Tuesday night: himself.
On Fox Sports Live, it was announced that Jones has been stripped of his belt and has been suspended indefinitely by the organization. Daniel Cormier will now face Anthony Johnson for the vacant title on May 23rd in the UFC 187 headliner.
The 27-year-old Jones has had a tumultuous few days following his arrest Monday on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or serious injury as he allegedly was involved in a hit-and-run accident Sunday morning that sent a woman to the hospital with a broken arm. Jones surrendered himself to Alberqueue, New Mexico, police Monday after a warrant was put out of his arrest and he was released on $2500 bail.
On Wednesday morning, Reebook announced they had dropped Jones as a sponsored athlete, making him the first athlete to lose two shoe and apparel contracts in eight months. Nike dropped him in 2014.
UFC president Dana White appeared on FSL via phone to address he and co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta's Tuesday meeting with Jones. White said Jones didn't say much and that they wanted to hear Jones' side of the story. He said Jones was "disappointed and upset" with the decision to strip him and pull the fight but they had to make the decision they needed to make.
When asked if the situation hurt the sport, White said it wasn't fun but "the show must go on." There is no timetable for Jones' return as he has to handle his legal issues right now, according to White.
Johnson vs. Cormier joins middleweight champion Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort and Donald Cerrone vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov as the new lineup. White said that Cormier was ready and pushed for the fight with Johnson for the title.
Jones (21-1) last competed in early-January, defeating rival Cormier via unanimous decision to retain his title for the eighth time. Since rising to prominence, Jones has found himself at the center of controversy due to a failed cocaine test, a DUI arrest, and various social media follies.
There will be more on this during the midnight edition of UFC Tonight on Fox Sports One.
UFC's statement on the fight:
"UFC announced that it has suspended Jon Jones indefinitely and stripped him of the light heavyweight title as a result of violations of the organization’s Athlete Code of Conduct Policy. Jones was recently arrested in Albuquerque, N.M. on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury. As a result of the charge and other violations of the Athlete Code of Conduct Policy, the organization believes it is best to allow Jones time to focus on his pending legal matters.
UFC feels strongly that its athletes must uphold certain standards both in and out of the Octagon. While there is disappointment in the recent charges, the organization remains supportive of Jones as he works through the legal process.
With this decision, UFC has determined that No. 1 contender Anthony Johnson will now fight No. 3 contender Daniel Cormier for the UFC light heavyweight championship at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas."
Jones tweeted Tuesday: