In an unusual move, the UFC has moved to suspend a fighter for a positive test from a card that was under the supervision of an athletic commission. Ben Rothwell, who defeated Brandon Vera by TKO at UFC 164 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has been handed a nine-month suspension for a positive test for elevated testosterone.
Rothwell released a statement to MMA Junkie explaining his side of things:
"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."
It can be assumed that Rothwell's win over Vera will be flipped to a No Contest. If that does happen, it will be the second time that Brandon Vera would have a loss switched to a No Contest.
UPDATE: According to Marc Ratner via Yahoo Sports, Rothwell wasn't suspended by the commission because they don't have the ability to do so:
"The state had never given out a TRT before and there was nothing in their administrative laws and statutes that allowed them to do more than write him a letter," said Ratner, the long-time former executive director of the Nevada Athletic Commission. "We always try to do the right thing everywhere. If he had had this result in Nevada, he'd have gotten a nine-month suspension, so we felt that was the appropriate thing to do in this case, to suspend him for nine months."
They also don't have the ability to overturn the result, so Rothwell will keep his win.