Two-Time Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez Suspended

gilbertmelendezGilbert Melendez will not be able to compete until June 13, 2016 next year because of a failed post-fight drug test.

According to the UFC, the two-time mixed martial arts lightweight title contender and former Strikeforce champion had tested positive for “exogenous origin of testosterone metabolites” following his UFC 188 fight with Eddie Alvarez in Mexico City last June 13. Even though this is the first time that Melendez had tested positive for a prohibited substance, the UFC decided to go forward and implement the suspension. Here’s the official statement from UFC:

“Following his bout at UFC 188 in Mexico City on June 13, UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez tested positive for exogenous origin of testosterone metabolites. The UFC has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents by our athletes. As a result of the positive test, Melendez has accepted a one-year suspension, effective from the date of the bout, for violating the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC.”

Melendez denied taking any medications intravenously, but he took full responsibility of what happened. He issued an official statement regarding this matter as well. Here’s what Melendez said:

“Regrettably, I tested positive in my post-fight urine sample for UFC 188,” Melendez said. “I did not inject anything, but I am responsible and accept the consequences for the results. I will make sure I am better educated about the products I use and their implications. Going forward, I will ensure no products I use will contain banned substances. I am sincerely apologetic to everyone who supports me, including my fans, sponsors and the UFC. I value your trust and respect and will everything in my power to keep it.”

Due to this issue, Melendez has been pulled out and will not be able to participate in the upcoming mixed martial arts UFC 71 Fight Night which will be held on July 15 in San Diego. Al Iaquinto, originally set to face Bobby Greene, was set to fight against Melendez with only a few weeks notice. However, with the sudden turn of events which had Melendez suspended for the entire year, Iaquinta has been left, yet again, with no opponent for the event. UFC seeked out to find a new opponent but eventually decided to exclude Iaquinta’s match completely. It was replaced by a co-main event lightweight match between Josh Thomson and Tony Ferguson. Iaquinta has expressed great disappointed over the news because the up-and-coming fighter not only lost the opportunity to fight one of top-five ranked lightweight fighters, which could have been a career-changing break for him, but he also lost the opportunity to be included and fight in the UFC Fight Night as well. Recent reports stated, however, that Iaquinta has confirmed that he will not push through in competing on the card, but instead opted to take a break and have his long-standing knee injury treated.

Melendez is now one of the champions who also failed the drug tests in these last few months. These champions who are now with Melendez have been from major promotions as well. Some of these former champions include Nick Diaz (former Strikeforce Champion), Anderson Silva (former UFC Champion), Alexander Shlemenko and Hector Lombard, who are both former Bellator champions.