UFC middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum has again been suspended by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) over positive drug tests for 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive component in marijuana.
Gastelum, 28, was initially suspended for nine months by USADA after testing positive for Carboxy-THC during an in-competition test at November’s UFC 244, where Gastelum lost a unanimous decision to Darren Till. The sample that tested positive for Carboxy-THC was Gastelum’s November 2 sample, the day after the event.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 winner received a five-month reduction on his suspension, however, by completing a “drug treatment program,” USADA wrote in a statement published to its website.
USADA also stated, “Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, Cannabinoids are considered Substances of Abuse. 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.”
Because Gastelum’s four-month suspension dates back to his positive test date, November 3, the seventh-ranked middleweight contender is already eligible to return to competition, and has been since March 3.
This marks Gastelum’s second positive test for marijuana, which is currently a substance prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code for in-competition use.
In May of 2017, USADA announced that Gastelum had tested positive for cannabinoids and accepted a six-month suspension following UFC Fortaleza, where Gastelum had stopped his opponent, former UFC champion Vitor Belfort, with punches. Gastelum’s victory was overturned to a No Contest.