Kelvin Gastelum fails drug test, fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 212 is off

Combat columnist
UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum failed a drug test and his fight with ex-champion Anderson Silva has been canceled. (AP)
UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum failed a drug test and his fight with ex-champion Anderson Silva has been canceled. (AP)

Kelvin Gastelum was zooming toward the top of the middleweight division, proving himself a legitimate title contender with back-to-back impressive wins over veterans Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort.

But Gastelum won’t get the opportunity he craved the most because of yet another self-inflicted problem.

The UFC announced Thursday that Gastelum failed a drug test following his March 11 victory over Belfort in Brazil and has been provisionally suspended by USADA.

As a result, Gastelum has been pulled from his bout with Anderson Silva at UFC 212, one he called for after his win over Belfort.

Gastelum tested positive for Carboxy-THC, which is a metabolite of marijuana. He was above the allowed limit of 180 nanograms/milliliter. Marijuana is not banned outside of competition, and it is permissible in the system in dosages lower than 180 ng/ml in competition.

The UFC’s statement:

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Kelvin Gastelum of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation involving Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (“Carboxy-THC”) which is a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected in conjunction with his recent bout in Fortaleza, Brazil on March 11, 2017.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Gastelum, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation. Because the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) was the regulatory body overseeing the fight in Fortaleza and has licensing jurisdiction over Gastelum, USADA will work to ensure that the Commission has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of Gastelum’s potential anti-doping violation. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.

As a result of the potential anti-doping violation against Gastelum, USADA has placed him under a provisional suspension. While the UFC Anti-Doping Policy affords Gastelum full and fair due process rights before any possible adjudication of his case, because of the proximity to Gastelum’s scheduled June 3rd bout against Anderson Silva, Gastelum is being removed from the card and a replacement is currently being sought.

Gastelum, 25, has had issues making weight at welterweight, which slowed his progress and forced him to move permanently to middleweight.

Though smoking marijuana is hardly the most grievous sin, if the initial finding sticks, it will be yet another problem that slowed his career progress which he brought upon himself. He’s one of the sport’s best young prospects, but needs to get into a groove in which he fights regularly and isn’t sidelined by avoidable issues.

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