Jeff Novitzky has doubled down on his support of the UFC’s decision to move its final pay-per-view event of 2018 to a different state on a week’s notice.
After an abnormal drug-test result for Jon Jones, the UFC moved UFC 232 to Los Angeles from Las Vegas six days before the card is scheduled to take place. A trace amount of turinabol, the same steroid metabolite found in Jones’ system in August 2017 after his rematch with Daniel Cormier, was found in his system in a Dec. 9 sample collection administered by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner.
But USADA determined it was a result of last year’s failure, not a new ingestion, due to the very low amount. Nevada wouldn’t license Jones to compete on Saturday in light of the recent positive test, but California would, thus the relocation.
Many fighters and fans have made it clear they are against the move, but Novitzky, the UFC’s vice president of athlete health and performance, said in a tweet on Monday that it was “the right thing to do.”
“This case exemplifies how advanced and sensitive drug tests have become,” Novitzky wrote. “With this comes a greater responsibility and the need to look at each situation objectively. The decision yesterday showed both of these things.
“Can’t make everyone happy.”
This case exemplifies how advanced and sensitive drug tests have become. With this comes a greater responsibility and the need to look at each situation objectively. The decision yesterday showed both of these things. Can’t make everyone happy, but it was the right thing to do.
— Jeff Novitzky (@JeffNovitzkyUFC) December 24, 2018
Many have argued that the UFC’s decision was a poor one, considering the many fans who have flights, hotels, and other accommodations booked for Las Vegas to attend Saturday’s card. (Ironically, this is all happening just days before Christmas, a time of the year during which typically more money is spent than usual.) In addition, the UFC has to arrange travel for all its athletes from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. In short, this is a logistical nightmare for the promotion.
Of course, this allows the highly-anticipated Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson rematch (which is for the light heavyweight title) to go on, but certainly not without consequence. Some have said they believe that delaying Jones vs. Gustafsson to early 2019 and moving Cris Cyborg vs. Amanda Nunes to the UFC 232 main event — keeping the card in Las Vegas — would have been smarter.
UFC 232 will go on as planned, with Jones vs. Gustafsson as the main event. The card now takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, California, just outside Los Angeles.