LAS VEGAS — The pre-fight festivities between UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier went to a new level on Monday morning when a staredown between the pair ended up resulting in a brawl that destroyed the stage and sent security officers scrambling to contain both fighters.
Here's a video of the melee:
Update: Kirk Hendrick, Chief Legal Officer for the UFC, issued a statement via the UFC website insinuating that there will be consequences for both Jones and Cormier.
"This is certainly not a proud moment for the UFC organization. We expect more from our athletes, especially these two gentlemen, who are very well-trained and highly educated professionals. Their actions were clearly a violation of the UFC’s code of conduct."
Jones and Cormier, with UFC representative Dave Sholler in the middle, met in the center of a small stage set up for media interviews. They immediately went face to face, and Cormier shoved Jones backwards. Jones surged forward and threw a punch over Sholler, attempting to land on Cormier. He continued lunging after Cormier, and both fighters fell through a backdrop and onto the floor of the MGM Grand lobby.
UFC security forces attempted to pull the men apart, but Jones continued throwing punches at Cormier. The challenger, arms held behind his back by security, flailed with his legs and tried to kick Jones in the head.
Security finally pulled both fighters apart. Jones went back on the stage, raised his face to the ceiling and let out a ferocious howl.
Immediately afterwards, Jones sent out a series of tweets ridiculing Cormier:
Cormier responded accordingly:
UFC President Dana White, on vacation, reacts to news of the Jones-Cormier skirmish:
We'll continue to update this story with photos, videos and text as more information becomes available. Jones and Cormier are scheduled to compete in the main event of UFC 178 on September 27 in Las Vegas.