#5 ranked UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell was scheduled to fight Fabricio Werdum at the mighty UFC 211 in May. Unfortunately, the fight is presumably off, as Rothwell, 35, is provisionally suspended by USADA.
The UFC organization was formally notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Ben Rothwell of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on February 6, 2017.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed.
Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information or UFC statements will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
In 2013 Rothwell was suspended for nine months by the UFC after a pre-fight test at UFC 164 showed elevated levels of testosterone. Rothwell was reportedly undergoing Testosterone Replacement Therapy at the time, but apparently did not have a Therapeutic Use Exemption. USADA can take previous test failures into account when determining punishment following a confirmed test failure.
That said, Rothwell is absolutely innocent until established guilty. And given some high profile cases lately like Cris Cyborg that ultimately resulted in no punishment, there cannot be an assumption that he has done anything wrong.
The fighter himself made the request as well.
“With the recent news received from USADA I would like to take this time to let everyone know, I have been under the care of a physician and trying to overcome a medical illness,” he wrote on his social network. “I would appreciate the chance to show that I have not cheated nor did I intended to cheat. Please hold your opinions of me until all the facts are out. I appreciate everyone’s support as I go through the process with usada.