We now know why David Branch was pulled from his scheduled UFC Vancouver fight, and you won’t be seeing him in the Octagon any time soon.
USADA announced on Wednesday that the veteran middleweight failed an out-of-competition drug test, and he’s received a two-year ban after testing positive for the Growth Hormone Secretagogue (GHS) known as ipamorelin.
Branch, 37, tested positive for ipamorelin as the result of a urine sample he provided out-of-competition on May 24, 2019. Ipamorelin is in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Ipamorelin is a potent Growth Hormone Secretagogue that stimulates the brain to release human growth hormone and is used by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug. The use of prohibited peptides by athletes and consumers for performance or physique enhancement purposes (including recovery from injury) poses serious health risks, and these peptides are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human use or consumption.
Branch (22-6) will be eligible to return to UFC competition in July 2021. He was supposed to fight Andrew Sanchez last weekend, but his removal from the event was confirmed in August, just days after his provisional suspension was imposed.
The former two-division WSOF champion was on a two-fight losing streak at the time of his USADA failure, suffering a TKO to Jared Cannonier last November before his April submission defeat to rising contender Jack Hermansson. He returned to the UFC in 2017 after his successful stint in WSOF, but outside of a shock KO of Thiago Santos, he’s mostly underwhelmed. Now unless he secures his UFC release so he can fight for another promotion, he is now on the shelf until he’s nearly 40 years old.