icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

The $how goes on: Moving UFC 232 and Jon Jones to LA is all about the money

The $how goes on: Moving UFC 232 and Jon Jones to LA is all about the money
Sunday night’s news about Jon Jones’ failed drug test and an entire UFC 232 card being moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles came as only a mild shock. After all, it’s all about the money. Isn’t it?

When it was announced that the UFC was switching their end-of-year show UFC 232 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on just six days' notice, fans and media alike were stunned.

But far more shocking was the UFC's announcement that they were moving the entire event - lock, stock and barrel - from Las Vegas to California.

Also on rt.com UFC 232 switched from Las Vegas to Los Angeles after Jon Jones submits abnormal drug test

There can only be one reason why the UFC would put an entire event's worth of fighters, their families, their teams and their fans to such inconvenience and stress just a matter of days from fight night. It all boils down to money.

Like any business, the UFC's aim was always to be profitable and sustainable, but since their $4billion purchase by sports management giants Endeavor, there has been a noticeable change in their approach.


The UFC once prided itself on making sure the best fought the best, but now we've seen the advent of "The Money Fight", which has muddied the waters of meritocracy, held up weight classes and caused discontent from fighters who have been passed over in favor of bigger box-office draws.

And that money-driven approach has also been a major driving factor in the world's best fighter departing the organization.

Surely no company claiming to have the best fighters in the world would willingly trade away the single most talented fighter on the planet, former UFC flyweight world champion Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson? Yet that's exactly what the UFC did when they traded him to Asian MMA giants ONE Championship for welterweight Ben Askren.

The most likely reason? Despite being phenomenally talented inside the octagon and squeaky-clean outside it, Johnson never really pulled in the numbers at the box office. That, seemingly, was enough to let him go.

And now, it seems we're seeing the UFC go against the very ethos that built their success in the first place. Back in the early days of the Zuffa-era UFC, when the company was run by the trifecta of Dana White and casino magnate brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, the organization deliberately ran towards regulation as they sought to gain legitimacy and credibility in the sporting world.

But this weekend we're seeing the Las Vegas-based UFC do the exact opposite, as they run away from the regulatory rules of the Nevada State Athletic Commission in order to stage a fight that would not be cleared in their own home state.

From the outside, the reasoning for Jones' failed test certainly seems to hold water, with the California State Athletic Commission, USADA and the UFC's Jeff Novitzky all making clear and compelling arguments for why Jones should be cleared to fight.

But there's something not quite right about the UFC running away from rules in one state to take advantage of slightly different rules in another.

READ MORE: ‘No. 1 bullsh*t people’: Khabib, fellow fighters hit out at USADA after Jon Jones doping ruling

But the regulation matters aside, there are other big losers in this situation - the fans.

The UFC's end-of-year shows in Las Vegas have become something of an annual tradition, with events held just before the city's spectacular New Year festivities. It's the perfect time for fans to end the year in style with a trip to Sin City, with some traveling in from overseas.

Those fans, many with nonrefundable hotels and flights, are now left with the trip they wanted, but no event to watch, as they will now have to fork out for a further flight to LA in order to get to The Forum to watch the fights.

The travel turmoil also extends to the fighters, their teammates and their families, with last-minute travel plans being hastily arranged to ensure everyone can get to Los Angeles.

The fighters will also take a further hit - in the pocket. Nevada has no state taxes, while California does, and that could see the fighters take a hit of anything up to 13% as a result of the venue switch.

Clearly pulling the Jones-Gustafsson fight from the card was considered a non-starter, with the event the final opportunity to rake in some pay-per-view revenue before the end of the year.

And with the UFC surely having big plans for Jones in 2019, having the fight go ahead will ensure there are no undue delays to their plans for "Bones" to be more active as he returns to the fold full-time in the New Year.

The show must go on and, for better or worse, it's going to happen in California, and we'll be watching.

You probably will, too, and that's what the UFC are counting on.