Ben Rothwell hints new UFC drug policy could impact champ Cain Velasquez

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Ryan McKinnell
·Ryan McKinnell
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

On Saturday, heavyweight Ben Rothwell engaged in a postfight speech that could only be described as memorable.

Moments after finishing opponent Matt Mitrione with a first-round guillotine at UFC Fight Night 68, Rothwell took the microphone and rang off some rhetoric that had him sounding like a cheap Conan the Barbarian impersonator hell-bent on a WWE contract more than a legitimate heavyweight MMA contender.

After the cameras went dark, however, is when things really got weird. Rothwell sounded off on the more serious issue of performance-enhancing drugs in mixed martial arts on Monday’s edition of "The MMA Hour."

In what was another confusing move, Rothwell chose to pick on UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez as a man who might not be fighting the same when the UFC’s drug-testing program goes into effect next month.

Ben Rothwell thinks Cain Velasquez could be using PEDs. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Ben Rothwell thinks Cain Velasquez could be using PEDs. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

“Let’s see what happens on July 1 and the advanced testing kicks in,” Rothwell told host Ariel Helwani. “Let’s see if he is still fighting the same way he has. I doubt it.”

After implying that Velasquez might be on PEDs, Helwani questioned Rothwell about his comments.

I'm not implying anything,” Rothwell said. “I'm just saying, I don't believe every division is going to look the same after July 1. If anyone takes offense to that, maybe they ought to look at themselves and look at their problems."

The UFC’s new drug-testing program goes into effect on July 1 with help from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Rothwell, a former recipient of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) himself, chose a less-than-ideal candidate to hang his PED witch hunt hat on.

Not only does the champ clock in on average at around 240 pounds on fight night — a far cry from the divisional limit of 265 — Velasquez is not exactly known for his chiseled physique. Furthermore, the heavyweight champion has never tested positive for a banned substance, but Rothwell recently served a nine-month suspension from the UFC for elevated testosterone after a fight with Brandon Vera at UFC 164 in 2013.

Velasquez was asked by MMA Fighting about Rothwell’s seemingly out-of-left-field comments prior to Saturday’s main event against interim heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188.

“That's a big compliment for me, because I'm never known for physique,” joked Velasquez. “For someone to point that out, I'm kind of flattered.”

Rothwell’s impressive win on Saturday will most assuredly see him rise in the heavyweight rankings. However, Rothwell is just 6-4 since 2008, with one of those losses coming to Velasquez, and a potential rematch in the near future doesn’t seem very likely. So, the champ is taking Rothwell’s proclamation with a grain of salt.

"Did you watch his after-fight speech,” Velasquez asked. “Maybe it's coming from that, I don't know. Not being a guy who's known for his physique — known for not being on anything. I've been tested before numerous times, before and after all my fights the day of. Again, watch his after-fight speech and you can find out where he's coming from.”

What say you, readers? Is Rothwell just blowing smoke in an attempt to raise his profile, or does he see something that most do not?

More UFC 188 coverage: