Following the events that saw Jones allegedly involved in a hit-and-run car accident wherein a pregnant woman was injured, White appeared on FOX Sports Live to discuss the UFC’s decision on Jones.
“What we wanted to find out is what the facts were,” White said on the program, discussing his meeting with Jones earlier in the day in Albuquerque, N.M. “We wanted to hear Jon’s side of the story and we wanted to hear what his lawyer had to say about it.”
White added that when he and Zuffa CEO Lorenzo Fertitta informed Jones of their decision to strip the title and suspend him, the fighter was upset and disappointed, but called it “a decision we had to make.”
With the suspension, Jones has been pulled from the main event at UFC 187. In his place will be former No. 1 contender Daniel Cormier, who will now face Anthony Johnson for the vacant UFC 205-pound title. White said that Cormier was an automatic choice to replace Jones.
Cormier was set to face Ryan Bader at UFC Fight Night 68 on June 6, but his replacement of Jones next month leaves a void in that card’s main event. A decision to replace the fight on that card has not been made at this time, according to UFC officials.
With legal troubles ahead of him, Jones now faces an ordeal far more difficult than the likes of which he’s seen in the Octagon. The fighter broke his silence on Twitter Tuesday evening, expressing an apology.
“Got a lot of soul searching to do,” he wrote. “Sorry to everyone I let down.”
As more information surfaced about Jones being involved in a hit-and-run accident, fans and media personalities expressed through social media and columns the need for the UFC to strip Jones of his belt and/or remove him from the UFC 187 main event.
The UFC reserved comment over the last 48 hours, but released the following statement on Tuesday evening.
“UFC feels strongly that its athletes must uphold certain standards both in and out of the Octagon,” the statement read. “While there is disappointment in the recent charges, the organization remains supportive of Jones as he works through the legal process.”
And as for a UFC return, White was noncommittal to providing a timeframe for when Jones might be fighting in the Octagon again.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “We have suspended him indefinitely. Obviously, he needs to focus on his legal matters right now. I don’t know, we’ll see what happens.
“It’s not fun, but the show must go on.”
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