Emotional Jon Jones apologizes for UFC 200 removal, denies cheating

Jon Jones and his manager Malki Kawa addressed the media in Las Vegas regarding his removal from UFC 200. They didn’t go into the specific substance for which Jones was flagged, but after making his apologies for the UFC 200 main event with Daniel Cormier getting blown up, it was made clear they’re fighting the finding and believe it to be something for which Jones will be eventually cleared.

Here’s a mostly complete transcript of comments from Jones and Kawa, with a few notes on how the presser played out:

Jones: Uhhh man. I don’t know what to say. I want to first start by apologizing to all the fans who came out to support me for UFC 200, obviously the UFC, the Fertittas, for not being able to perform. I know there’s been a lot to go into this event, all the staff of the UFC. And Daniel Cormier. I want to apologize to Daniel Cormier. I know this fight meant a lot to him. The fight meant a lot to me, and the fight’s not happening. I just really wanted to apologize to everyone sincerely. I really don’t know what to say. I’m really sorry about this happening.

Kawa: What I can tell you guys is that this last 24 hours has been a whirlwind. We got the notice last night from Jeff Novitsky of the UFC that there was a possible flag for some PED violation. We’re here this morning to basically deny that, apologize for what happened, and go from there. At this point we’re not going to get into the details of the notice that we got, simply because we’re going to do what we have to do to fight this… The B sample is being tested today.

Jones: The whole situation really sucks. It really sucks. It really hurts, a lot. Supposedly they found something in one of my samples that I have no clue what it is, I can’t even pronounce it. And I’ve been so outspoken about being against any type of performance enhancers. I’m still to this day extremely against performance enhancers. The whole thing sucks. Being labeled as someone who would ever cheat hurts me more than anything else I’ve ever been through in my career. It just sucks, right now I’m kind of like… I don’t even know how I feel about it at the moment.

Kawa: Obviously it just happened. He’s a little emotional about it, he’s a little distraught with it. It’s not an easy thing for him to swallow right now, so obviously we’re gonna go step by step through the process and take it day by day.

-At this point Jones walked off the stage, while Kawa fielded a couple questions.

Kawa: From my preliminary understanding of what they’re talking about, absolutely 100% [this could be similar to Yoel Romero’s situation]. So without saying too much more I feel like by the time this is all said and done, it’ll be alright… It could be [a supplement issue]. I don’t want to say much more than that just because I’ve got to go through all the reasonable steps, but it could be… You can say whatever you guys want about Jon over the years. The last year he’s done nothing but try his best to live right, eat right, do the right things. Being in this type of predicament, he’s been very outspoken about this stuff. One of the main reasons why he came here today is he wanted to look the media and the fans in the face and just say that, ‘you know, I apologize that this happened,’ but he didn’t cheat at all. He didn’t do anything wrong, or at least he didn’t try to do anything wrong.

-Kawa fielded a few more questions while Jones was brought back out.

Jones: My immediate response? I don’t know. It was obviously a pretty devastating thing to find out… My attitude was just to continue to fight. That was my attitude. To try to be as optimistic and positive as possible about the situation, and try to find the good in the situation. So that’s my attitude. Just to figure out what good can come from this in my personal life. That’s my attitude… I feel like I’ve put in a lot of work to get back to this point. I feel like I have to re-climb a ladder.

Sorry that I’m crying. I believe that something good will come from this. But right now it’s hard to see it. I just got to keep going… I haven’t communicated with Dana White, though I’m interested to talk to him. I talked to Lorenzo Fertitta, told him that I would never cheat. I pride myself on my work ethic, and just apologized to him for the whole thing happening.

There’s a few things that have nothing to do with performance that I’ve tried. Whatever it is [I supposedly tested positive for], I can’t even pronounce it, I’ve never even heard of it, so I’m just learning about it myself. Right now I’m just going through and thinking about every single thing that I’ve taken leading up to the fight, and we’re going through the process of getting everything figured out and seeing exactly where this came from… I just know in my heart that I would never take anything that enhanced me in any way, so I didn’t feel the need to jot down anything. I didn’t really think that this could ever happen… I never thought I was even in a grey area to have to jot down what I take.

If I do have to sit out for two years I’ll definitely be back. My plan is I’m already thinking about the good that could happen. I’m just optimistic, man. At the end of the day, I’m a fighter. I’m a fighter. And even though I may seem broken up here, I’m not broken. I’m just really upset. I’ve been through a lot to get to this point. I’m not going to let this slow me down. Obviously two years out of the game might slow me down, but I’ll find the good in this. I think god has a way of talking to us.

-Chael Sonnen then chimed in to ask a question to Jones, asking him if he was denying taking the substance or denying knowing it was on the banned list:

Jones: Both. I would never take anything that would enhance my game. I wouldn’t cheat. I wouldn’t. So both… At the end of the day, this too shall pass. For all the people who believe in me, continue to believe in me, because this story is not over. The best is yet to come. I want to let them know that this changes nothing when it comes to my journey, when it comes to my fight with sobriety. I’m going to continue down that path. Let’s figure out what this is before passing judgment. Figure out what’s going on. I think people who are fans of mine know that I’m a fighter. Adversity is not something that defeats me. I’m hard to be broken. Just know I’m a little upset today, but I’ll be ok, and eventually they’ll be really proud…

I have a lot of pride in sobriety. We all get tested in life. I’m at a point in my life where a lot of shitty situations, I deal with them very well. I hadn’t really cried about the situation, so I guess I needed to get that out a second ago, huh? It’s kind of therapeutic being up here. This won’t break me. This won’t break me; like I said I believe something really good will happen. Maybe if I’m out for two years this is something god felt I needed for my development as a person. I don’t quite see why right now, but ultimately his plan will shine through and I’ll start to see why as the growth happens. So I’m upset, but at the same time I’m thanking god in advance because something’s going to come out of this, and I know it.

I’m going to go home. Probably talk to my probation officer and get on the same page with him. I’m just going to start this process, this is all very new for me. I’m going to come up with a list of things I’ve taken, and we’re going to try to figure out where this [failed test] could have came from. I’m definitely really interested myself.

Transcript via MMATorch.

About Debbie Wiseman

Editor in chief, Conor McGregor fangirl, animal lover. Follow me on twitter @MMAPARADISE and @djwnl