Meeting with the media shortly after it was announced Tuesday night thatfollowing the weigh-in ahead of UFC 214, company president Dana White spoke in muted tones and expressed his obvious disappointment at the circumstances.
Jones, who White and many fans maintain is the best pound-for-pound mixed martial arts fighter of all time, beat Daniel Cormier via third-round TKO back at UFC 214 just one year after he had a match with Cormier at UFC 200 canceled because he tested positive for a banned substance ahead of that bout.
Though Jones is presently suspended, he has not yet been stripped of his title as the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency will be testing a second sample and there remains a "process" -- White's words -- to go through before the situation is finalized.
"It's brutal. It's unbelievable," he said. "... In my opinion, he's the best to ever do it. He's the best ever. That makes it even more unfortunate."
White did note that, if the championship were to be removed from Jones, it would only make sense to hand it to Cormier rather than create an interim title.
"As far as I'm concerned, Cormier would be the champion. The only guy he's ever lost to in his whole career is Jon Jones," he said.
White admitted that this incident may very well be the end of Jones' career, particularly considering it will be a lengthy suspension if upheld. Reports have noted that it could be a 2-4 year timetable for Jones, who is presently 30.
"If this ends up and he gets 2-3 [years], it might be the end of his career. You talk about legacy? It might be the end of his career," White said. "It's tough. I mean, how old is Jon now, 30? [He'll be] 33-34 trying to make a comeback again? And you look at what could've been, what he could've done. It's sad."
Asked how this may mess up UFC's plans for its upcoming pay-per-views, White admitted that he was in discussions with Jones' camp to have the light heavyweight champion move up in weight and fight another title holder.
"We were talking about Jones fighting at heavyweight," said White, who said the bout probably would have been against heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 218 in Detroit.