MMA Ratings Podcast

December 25, 2018

UFC 232: Moving Event From Las Vegas To Los Angeles Showed the Promotion's Lack of Faith In Other Options

By Adam Martin

Late Sunday night, news broke that the UFC took the drastic step of moving this weekend's UFC 232 card from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. The reason the card was moved with less than a week to go was because headliner Jon Jones tested positive for trace amounts of the same banned substance that has kept him on the shelf for the better part of the last one and a half years, and Nevada was not going to let him fight in their state against Alexander Gustafsson. California was willing to take the fight, and now the card is being moved across state lines, significantly changing the travel plans of all the fighters on the card, all the UFC staff, and of course all of the fans who were planning on spending their New Year's Eve in Vegas. We haven't seen anything like this since UFC 12 back in the dark ages. And all of it just to keep the rematch between Jones and Gustafsson alive.

UFC President Dana White has made it clear he believes this was the right call by the promotion, but it's fair to ask: Did the UFC have any other options? I believe there were other things the UFC could have done instead of move an entire card on less than a week's notice to a completely different location. Some of the other options the UFC had included:

1) Take Jones Off The Card

Considering he's failed numerous drug tests, it's very hard to believe Jones when he says he's not a cheater. USADA says it believes Jones, but the truth is, most fans don't believe him anymore when he says he's clean. Although Jones is obviously the draw on this card, and the reason the UFC is doing everything it can to keep him on the card is that he sells pay-per-views, the fact of the matter is he's hurt a lot of people with all of his baggage in the past and present. If the UFC truly took its drug testing program seriously, it would have removed Jones from this event until they figured out what caused these metabolites to show up in his system. But the UFC is all about the bottom line, and keeping Jones on the card -- even if it's in LA now -- makes more money for the promotion.

2) Move Just The Main Event

The UFC could have also chosen to just move the UFC 232 main event, keeping the rest of the fighters on the card in Las Vegas. Instead of making all the other fighters who were scheduled to fight on the card go to a different city during fight week while they are cutting weight, the UFC could have just sent Jones and Gustafsson to LA and sold tickets to just that fight itself. The co-main event superfight between UFC Women's Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg and UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes would have taken its place atop the main card for the live fans in Vegas, and the Jones-Gustafsson bout would have been played in the arena on the big screen. Instead, the whole card is being moved, and now everyone is scrambling to get to LA, all because of Jones.

3) Cancel The Card

The other option the UFC had was to completely cancel the card. If the UFC didn't think the card was going to sell without Jones on it, the promotion could have taken the most drastic measure possible and just cancelled it completely. This was never going to happen, especially since UFC 233 was just cancelled, but it was definitely an option. Remember, UFC 151 was cancelled back in 2012 after Jones refused to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice due to an injury to Dan Henderson, so this wouldn't have been the first time.

But ultimately, the UFC decided that moving the card from Las Vegas to Los Angeles was the correct call. It remains to be seen whether the promotion made the right decision, but for now, it's one of the most controversial decisions the UFC has ever made, and it's not exactly the type of thing the promotion wanted to deal with considering the ESPN deal is just about to begin. If anything, it just shows what a crazy sport MMA is, and continues to be.

UFC 232
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 2 (UFC Light Heavyweight Championship)

UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 takes place December 29, 2018 at The Forum in Inglewood, California (formerly T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada).

Click HERE for more UFC 232 Pre-Fight Analysis

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