UFC fighter Kelvin Gastelum is free to fight again having served a five-month ban for breaching anti-doping regulations for a second time.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced on Monday that Gastelum, the former middleweight title contender, was initially handed a nine-month ban after testing positive for cannabis, but the suspension was reduced by four months upon completion of a drug rehabilitation programme.
A USADA statement read: “Gastelum, 28, tested positive for 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (Carboxy-THC) over the Decision Limit of 180 ng/mL, a urinary metabolite of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and/or hashish as the result of a sample collected in-competition at UFC 244 New York, New York on November 3, 2019.
“Cannabis, marijuana, and hashish are Specified Substances in the class of Cannabinoids and prohibited in-competition under the UFC Prohibited List.
“Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, Cannabinoids are considered Substances of Abuse.
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“If an athlete can establish that the Substance of Abuse was not used to enhance his or her performance in a bout, the athlete is eligible for a reduction to his or her period of ineligibility upon the full and satisfactory completion of an approved rehabilitation program.”
Gastelum tested positive on a similar charge slightly over three years ago, and the six-month ban handed out in March 2017 was halved after he successfully completed a drug awareness and management programme approved by USADA.
The 28-year-old lost in his last outing against Darren Till at UFC 244 last November and earlier this month admitted he is eyeing a return to the octagon by July.