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Jon Jones stripped of UFC interim light heavyweight title

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The inevitable became a reality on Wednesday as Jon Jones was stripped of his interim UFC light heavyweight just days after receiving a one-year suspension in the arbitration case for his failed UFC 200 drug test. ESPN first reported the news, which marked the second time in the past two years that Jones has been stripped of a UFC title.

"Jon Jones has blown it in every way shape and form a guy with that much talent can blow it," said UFC president Dana White to ESPN. "Greatest talent ever and the biggest screw-up ever."

Jones, 29, is perhaps one of the greatest fighters in the sport's brief history, however his career and legacy have been derailed by a seemingly endless march of outside-the-cage issues over the last several years, ultimately culminating in the latest one-year suspension for two banned substances, clomiphene and Letrozol, stemming from an out-of-competition drug test prior to UFC 200.

Jones attributed the failed test to a tainted sexual-performance pill he took prior to the July fight card. USADA independently confirmed Jones' claim, but it mattered little. A three-man team of arbitrators on Monday decreed that Jones was still at fault as a result of the "reckless" lack of due diligence he showed by taking the pill, suspending Jones into July 2017. Things could get worse too, as Jones is still awaiting a disciplinary hearing with the Nevada Athletic Commission and could receive additional punishment for his failed test.

With things looking bleak for Jones' chances of competing in the immediate future, White said on Wednesday that it was an easy choice for Jones to be stripped of his interim title.

"It doesn't make sense," White said. "He was the interim champion because he should have been fighting for the title [in April]. We gave him this, 'You were supposed to fight for the title, here it is.'

"It doesn't make sense with all the stuff that is going on for him to still be the interim champion."

Jones (22-1) was first stripped of his long-held UFC light heavyweight title in April 2015 for his role in a hit-and-run accident that left one pregnant victim with a broken arm. At that point, Jones was closing in on Anderson Silva's record hallowed for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history, however his streak was stopped at eight due to his actions.

Following a lengthy suspension, Jones returned and captured the interim UFC light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision victory over Ovince Saint Preux in April, setting the stage for a blockbuster rematch against UFC champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 200. But that fight ultimately fell apart just days out from bicentennial event due to Jones' failed test, marking the latest in a long line of controversies for Jones.

On The Dan LeBatard Show on Tuesday, White estimated that Jones lost "anywhere from $15-20 million" in career earnings due to his indiscretions.