The changes to the rankings, however, are limited to the heavyweight division. The reason for these changes can be attributed to the recent potential anti-doping violation of former champion Junior Dos Santos.
Dos Santos was flagged by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the organization charged with drug-testing in the UFC, and pulled from his planned UFC 215 showdown with red hot contender Francis Ngannou as a result. The former champion has now been removed from the UFC heavyweight rankings as a result.
Since news of his potential USADA violation broke, Dos Santos has maintained his innocence, releasing a lengthy statement on Instagram to that end.
“I’m not here to give an explanation,” Dos Santos said in his post (h / tMMAJunkie.com). “Soon, everything will be clear to all of you and no doubt – truth will prevail. I’m here in respect of all of you guys. I just want to say that this situation is very tough for me, my team and my family. And I would never cheat. It goes against everything I stand for. I play a fair game. We will get to the bottom of this, figure out what happened, learn from it and move on. And I hope in the near future, Francis Ngannou and I can face each other and give you guys the show you were expecting. For now, thank you very much for your support. It means a lot to me, and that’s why I’m here.”
Whatever the case, Junior Dos Santos will be given due process before any punishment is dished out. Given the big news of last night, we’re likely to see some more big shifts in the UFC rankings soon – even without a UFC card this weekend.
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 8/23/2017.