The Friday Five: December 28th, 2018

1. Cormier Relinquishes UFC Light Heavyweight Title

In a year where Daniel Cormier went 3-0 and became the first person to hold both the UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight title, he decided to control his legacy on Friday by relinquishing his light heavyweight title.

In a statement to ESPN on Friday, Cormier announced that he would rather give up the belt over having it stripped from him on December 29th when Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson fought for it at UFC 232.

“Today I am going to relinquish the UFC light heavyweight title,” Cormier wrote in an exclusive statement to ESPN. “I am not going to be stripped of the belt that I’ve defended with my all for three and a half years. Being stripped of a title suggests you’ve done something wrong, and I haven’t.

“I’d rather walk away this way, with my head held high as it always has been, than have the history books say I was stripped. I’ve defended this title this year. I was approached with the idea of fighting at heavyweight, so I took it. I fought three times in 2018. No champion has been more active than me. I am the fighter of the year. My story and my legacy will not include me being stripped of a title. They can have it.”

2. Jones Had Turinabol In His System Going Back to August

The big news of the week has been Jon Jones testing positive with a residual trace of Turinabol in his system on December 9th. That news uprooted the UFC from Las Vegas to Los Angeles the same way the Colts moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis, quick, sudden, and leaving people wondering what happened.

Now, less than 36 hours until fight night, it has come out that Jon Jones tested positive for similar levels of Turinabol even earlier than December 9th, multiple times.

As it turns out, those “atypical findings” started as far back as August 29th, where the former light heavyweight champion tested positive for 8 picograms.

A picogram is 0.000 000 000 001 of a gram, and could be a sign of microdosing or the sign of a prior use of the performance enhancer. On September 18th, Jones would be found with 19 picograms of turinabol in his system, the last dirty test he would have between then and December 9th, where he would pass four tests on September 21st, October 2nd and 11th, and November 14th.

“I think it was December 6th, [USADA] sent a letter to us and they sent a letter to the Nevada state athletic commission saying, ‘Just you’re aware, over the last six months, early in this six months we’ve seen a reemergence of this long-term in Jon’s samples,’” UFC Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance, Jeff Novitzky, told Joe Rogan on Thursday’s edition of the Joe Rogan Experience.

“That’s all good, Nevada gets this. I talk with them, they’re like, ‘Whoa, this is concerning, but we don’t see anything in our jurisdiction here, so I certainly hope that no subsequent tests show up positive because that could be an issue.’” Novitzky said.

“And sure enough, USADA collects a sample from Jon on 12/9, they expedited the results because they knew a fight was coming up and they do that now when fights are close or the collections are done close to a fight, and here he pulses back up to between 60 and 80 picograms.”

3. Wilder: “If I Lose, So Be It.”

Credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

Walking into 2019, WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is less concerned about having a draw on his record than what he does to get past it.

“A loss or a draw can be a great thing but it all depends on where your minds at.,” Wilder told BoxingScene.com recently “It can make you honest and humble. That’s how you become a 3-time 4-time champion. A lot of people want to see how you fall and get back up. That’s what people turn into see how you get back up.”

“I’m not worried about an undefeated record,” stated Wilder of his December 1st split-decision draw against Tyson Fury at Staples Center. “If I happen to lose, then so be it, watch my comeback and see how I get back. Blessings to all those that get in the ring, we put our life on the line for people’s entertainment.”

“The heavyweight divisions is so lit,” stated Wilder. “My mandatory (Dominic Breazale) wants me next. I’m going with Tyson Fury for sure. We have to do the rematch. It was a controversial fight and when it’s like that, you have to come back. It can’t be no draws. There’s a winner and a loser.”

“Nobody doing what I’m doing. I’m fighting killers back to back.”

4. Hearn: “AJ-WIlder Must Happen In 2019”

With the internal deadline set by Eddie Hearn and Anthony Joshua here and gone, the promoter of the unified heavyweight champion claims that Deontay Wilder’s chance to become undisputed champion is running out.

“Another reason why the undisputed title fight must happen now is because, sooner or later, we’ll have different mandatory challengers,” Hearn said to Sky Sports of wanting to make Wilder-Joshua happen on April 13th at Wembley Stadium.

“And they might be fights that no one has an interest in. Wladimir Klitschko did that for years except he took the fights that no one had an interest in. Keep defending, keep defending – but you build a poor resume and AJ isn’t interested in that. He wants the big fights.”

Dillian Whyte, who was knocked out by Joshua in 2015, is the top alternate if Wilder’s plans of a rematch with Tyson Fury come to fruition in the spring of 2019.

“Dillian deserves a world title shot and he’s in his prime or approaching his prime, and that’s the time to fight. Him and ‘AJ’ is a brilliant fight,” Hearn said of his client who dropped Dereck Chisora last weekend at the O2 Arena.

 

5. Broner Arrested Before Christmas

Credit: Robby Illanes/SHOWTIME

Adrien Broner found himself in jail for a very brief time right before Christmas

According to a report from TMZ Sports, Broner was arrested in Broward County, Florida days before Christmas Day after a warrant for his arrest was issued for failure to appear in court weeks prior. The 29-year-old Broner was booked in county jail, but released from jail.

The arrest stems from last year when Broner was arrested for driving without a driver’s license, speeding and having no registration or proof of insurance. Broner didn’t appear in court several times which led to another arrest back in July for failure to appear.

Earlier in the month, Broner was sued for failing to pay more than a million dollars owed in jewelry payments to Pristine Jewelers NY. Broner had only paid a reported $100,000 out of a total of $1.252 million that he initially owed.

Broner is currently scheduled to fight in Las Vegas in January 19, 2019 when he takes on Manny Pacquiao. The fight, set to headline a pay-per-view at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, will be for Pacquiao’s WBA “regular” welterweight title in the champion’s first since signing a deal with Premier Boxing Champions and his first fight in the United States since 2016.

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