Just when we all thought the UFC 197 was intact, it was blown apart.
After spending three days in jail due to a probation violation, Jon Jones was released from a New Mexico detention center on Thursday with UFC officials proclaiming that he would remain in the UFC 197 headliner opposite Daniel Cormier. Then Cormier fell out of the bout.
Although the news came down on the auspicious April 1, which is commonly referred to as April Fool’s Day, several sources have confirmed the news originally reported by BJPenn.com. Cormier suffered an injury that leaves him unable to compete on April 23 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The bout was supposed to have been a rematch of Cormier and Jones’ first fight at UFC 182 in January of 2015. That bout saw Jones earn a unanimous decision victory over Cormier.
Cormier, however, became the UFC light heavyweight champion after Jones fell into legal trouble in April of 2015. He was charged with felony hit and run, which eventually landed him on probation in New Mexico, and saw the UFC strip him of the title. Cormier then defeated Anthony Johnson for the vacant championship.
Jones was in trouble again recently, charged with violating his probation after being pulled over for drag racing and receiving five citations. He was jailed briefly for the probation violation before striking a plea deal that added new stipulations to his probation, but allowed him the freedom to fight.
Now, however, it appears the fight will be put on hold again.
UFC officials had yet to confirm Cormier’s withdrawal as of the time of publication.
The UFC 197 co-main event was slated to feature flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson putting his belt on the line against former Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, which would be the obvious choice to take over the headlining spot, but we won’t know for sure until the UFC makes an announcement.
There was no indication whether or not the UFC would seek a replacement to try and keep Jones on the card.