For all the talk, all the build-up and all the hype, UFC 200 has been rocked to it’s core. The superbowl of fight cards has seen it’s main event scrapped after former Champion Jon Jones was flagged by USADA.
Suffering a similar fate to Chad Mendes, Jon Jones was flagged by USADA for a suspect and ultimately potential anti-doping violation during out-of-competition testing two weeks ago.
Jones, who spent the better part of the last 18 months getting sober after he nearly ruined his career in a drug-fueled hit and run incident in 2015. Working his way back during his rehabilitation and through a return fight with Ovince St. Peruex, Jones was back at the top of the UFC mountain, only for it to all fall apart again.
Flagged out of competition and returning a positive A test meant there was only one course of action, to scrap the main-event and long awaited super-fight with light heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier.
A huge shame, it seems as though there is only one course of action that can come from this, and that is with Jones receiving a two year suspension from competition. A massive shame it will now amount to three years of missed opportunities due to out of competition issues.
Deemed by many to be pound for pound number one in the world in front of flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, Jones seems intent on returning post his impending suspension, and the realization of this, especially after all his hard work hit him in his press conference this morning.
So, from all this – what happens to UFC 200? Well argued to be the biggest card in UFC history. Well, in the immediate aftermath, Daniel Cormier was completely pulled from the card and the main event fight became the ‘draw’ fight between Brock Lesnar and Mark Hunt. A sensable decision given Lesnar’s star power, the money they’ve given him to crossover from the WWE and the fact that Mark Hunt could stop this fight in 5 seconds and create headlines for years to come.
However, now, things have changed again – per reports from Dana White’s favourite reporter, Ariel Helwani, it appears that the Women’s Bantemweight Title fight is now the main event of the evening. In a complete shuffle, Meisha Tate Vs Amanda Nunes is now the main-event, Lesnar Vs Hunt is back to co-main and Daniel Cormier is back on the card with a fight against Anderson Silva.
One of three fighters to call Dana White, along with Gergard Mousasi and Dan Henderson in the aftermath of the storm around Jones, Silva was the only viable candidate. Mousasi was already on the card and Dan Henderson is seemingly being saved ‘for other’ things.
Silva, two months removed from serious Gall Bladder surgery steps in for a three round, non-title bout at 205 pounds. A dangerous fight for Cormier, Dana White has warned of Silva’s skill at the higher weight class “Anderson Silva is undefeated at 205, and not just undefeated, but devastatingly undefeated. Every time he’s moved up to 205, he’s looked better than he did at 185.”
Here from Silva at the press-confrence from earlier today
A huge change up from what we had just 36 hours ago – it’s a lot to take in.
However, there is one question that must be asked straight away – is there any great difference between the Lesnar/Hunt bout and Tate/Nunes bout being main-event? I mean, one way or the other, people are buying the event, so what is sparking the new train of thought.
Again, Helwani chimes in with a thought –
Ronda will be in town to watch her boyfriend Travis Browne square off with Cain Velsquez and is sure to be in the crowd cheering him on. Could her presence present the UFC with the ‘call-out’ opportunity they were hoping for between GSP and Connor? Could it all be a ploy to have Ronda return on the biggest stage of them all? There is no doubt Tate is deserving, she’s the girl who beat the girl who beat the world.
Only time will tell, but sufficed to say, even without a punch being thrown on the card, it’s already been insane. The final card order is as follows;
Be sure to tune in from 10:30 AEST for the card and stay tuned to the Unsportsmen for a fight week recap which has already seen carnage inside the cage in Eddie Alvarez dethroning Rafael Dos Anjos.