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Jon Jones out of UFC 200 due to doping probe; Anderson Silva now Cormier's new foe

The new promo poster for UFC 200

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The most packed UFC fight card ever got a huge blow on Thursday (Philippine Time) when UFC president Dana White announced that Jon Jones will not be defending his light heavyweight belt against Daniel Cormier on Sunday (Philippine Time) at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, USA.

The said statement read, "The UFC organization was notified tonight that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Jon Jones of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on June 16, 2016. USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. However, because Jones was scheduled to compete against Daniel Cormier this coming Saturday, July 9 (Sunday, July 10 Philippine Time) in Las Vegas, there is insufficient time for a full review before the scheduled bout and therefore the fight has been removed from the fight card."

In a quick presser following the announcement, White added, “It’s super, super disappointing. It was a brutal phone call.”

The UFC initially upgraded Brock Lesnar's much anticipated MMA return match against Mark Hunt as the main event, but on Friday (Philippine Time), the promotion instead made the women's bantamweight championship match between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes as the new headliner. The Lesnar-Hunt bout remains as the co-main event.

Cormier, on the other hand, will still have some MMA work on Sunday as he will now take on Anderson Silva in a three-round affair.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno