UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell is the latest in a long line of fighters in hot water over elevated testosterone. In a statement, Rothwell revealed that he has been suspended for nine months due to his tested levels.
Interestingly though, the suspension was not through the athletic commission, but instead through the UFC itself.
According to Rothwell, after his win over Brandon Vera at UFC 164, his test results showed elevated levels of testosterone. Prior to the bout, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services has cleared him for testosterone-replacement therapy, but due to the high levels found, he was issued an “administrative warning.”
A representative from the WDSPS could not reveal what that warning meant or entailed. All we do know is no disciplinary action was taken.
The UFC decided to take it one step further though, and suspended the fighter for nine months. The organization has not yet officially commented on the decision.
It’s a strange situation any way you look at it, especially with the UFC’s unprecedented handling of it. Could this be a warning to other fighters undergoing TRT therapy? With a growing number of them seeking it out, perhaps the UFC wanted to demonstrate just how little they will tolerate any missteps.
You can read Rothwell’s full statement below:
“Following my victory at UFC 164 I was informed I tested for an elevated level of testosterone. This came as a shock because I had applied for and was granted a TRT exemption and was doing so under the supervision of a doctor. I was tested every week for eight weeks prior to the fight and was well under the acceptable level each time.
“I had applied for TRT after an endocrinologist and Wisconsin athletic doctors diagnosed me with hypogonadism. They felt it was caused by a car crash in 1999 that left me with severe head trauma and in a coma. Doctors told me TRT was something that could stop the hypogonadism from degrading my body.
“After getting the news of the elevated test, I spoke with the Wisconsin Athletic Commission and they decided to give me an administrative warning. I was told they didn’t think I tried to cheat, but felt some punishment was necessary.
“I have now been informed the UFC has elected to suspend me for nine months. I am not going to fight the suspension as I feel ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure I stay under the acceptable limit. I am deeply sorry for this mistake and apologize to my fans, family and friends.”