Photo: Ed Carbajal

One of the first questions Dana White had to answer at the UFC seasonal press conference was why Jon Jones was not present. Given the light heavyweight champion’s history, even when legitimately sick according to Jackson/Wink stablemate Holly Holm vouched for him, fans and media will still want to know specifics. One question, unrelated to his absence was, will he be absent for UFC 239 on International Fight week?

The question posed by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto is sound considering the last International Fight week Jones was the main event for, was UFC 200. The scheduled main event in July of 2016 was Jones vs. Daniel Cormier but days before the event Jones was flagged for a doping violation and pulled from the card. The UFC found a last-minute replacement in Anderson Silva and the card reshuffled the main event to feature Miesha Tate versus Amanda Nunes.

Okamoto’s question was if White was completely past saying “Jon Jones would never headline a UFC event again,” and White said, “You don’t know.” He added that Jones “has been given the opportunity to erase the mistakes from the past. He’s one of the greatest talents ever, in the history of any sport. It’s up to him now.”

“It’s up to him now if he’s going to overcome these personal demons that he’s had.”

Dana White on Jon Jones

The truth is, White and fans really cannot say what one individual will do between now and July 6. White added on the news of Jones not making the press conference, “Nobody gives him the benefit of the doubt, even me.” White even commented on the legitimacy of his illness for the press conference, but said, “Yeah he’s headlining, and hopefully it all works out.”

Are you worried about Jon Jones headlining UFC 239?

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