Former UFC fighter Gilbert Melendez receives two-year USADA suspension

Gilbert Melendez has been served a suspension for an anti-doping violation.

The former Strikeforce lightweight champion was given a two-year suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the UFC’s anti-doping partner, after testing positive for GHRP-6 and its metabolites GHRP-6(2-5)-OH and GHRP-6(2-6)-OH in a urine sample collected in an out-of-competition test on Oct. 16, 2019. The news was announced by USADA on Monday.

GHRP-6 is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.

Melendez (22-8) was unable identify the source of the prohibited substance, but did challenge USADA’s jurisdiction to conduct the test. An independent arbitrator deemed that USADA did have jurisdiction to both conduct the test and allege an anti-doping policy violation in the event of a positive sample.

The suspension is retroactive from Nov. 1, 2019, making him eligible to return in November 2021.

Melendez was released from the UFC in November after going 1-6 in the promotion. The 38-year-old most recently competed against Arnold Allen in July 2019. He lost via unanimous decision, extending his losing skid to five in a row.

Although Melendez is no longer with the UFC, athletic commissions in the U.S. usually honor USADA suspensions. Melendez hasn’t been active in a year, but hasn’t announce retirement from the sport.

Melendez is considered one of the best 155-pound fighters of his time,  having defended the Strikeforce lightweight title four times from 2010 to 2012. Melendez holds notable victories over Jorge Masvidal, Josh Thompson, Diego Sanchez, Clay Guida, and Shinya Aoki.

He challenged then-UFC champ Benson Henderson for the title in 2013, losing a decision many scored in his favor.

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