Former Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez may have been released by the UFC in late-2019, but a failed out of competition drug test one month before said release will haunt the fighter for the foreseeable future.
That’s because the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced that Melendez has been suspended two years for failing a drug test in October of 2019. Melendez was found to have such substances as GHRP-6 and its metabolites GHRP-6(2-5)-OH and GHRP-6(2-6)-OH in the sample provided for the out of competition drug test.
Melendez, since the suspension is retroactive to the date of the drug test failure, can fight again in November of 2021.
USADA issued the following press release on the matter:
Independent Arbitrator Imposes Two-Year Sanction on Gilbert Melendez for UFC Anti-Doping Policy Violation
USADA announced today that an independent arbitrator has rendered a decision in the case of UFC athlete Gilbert Melendez, of Brisbane, Calif., and determined that Melendez should receive a two-year period of ineligibility for his anti-doping policy violation, precluding him from competing in any UFC bouts. This decision comes after the facts of the case were presented and argued.
Melendez, 38, tested positive for GHRP-6 and its metabolites GHRP-6(2-5)-OH and GHRP-6(2-6)-OH as the result of a urine sample collected out-of-competition on October 16, 2019. GHRP-6 is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics, and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.
While Melendez did not contest the presence of GHRP-6 and its metabolites in his sample nor identify a source of the prohibited peptide, he did challenge USADA’s jurisdiction to conduct the test. The arbitrator concluded that USADA did have jurisdiction to both conduct the test and allege an anti-doping policy violation in the event of a positive sample, as was the case.
Melendez’s two-year period of ineligibility began on November 1, 2019, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. The jurisdictional and merits awards can be found here, along with all other UFC Anti-Doping Policy arbitral decisions.
USADA conducts the year-round, independent anti-doping program for all UFC athletes. USADA is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental agency whose sole mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire true sport, and protect the rights of clean athletes. In an effort to aid UFC athletes, as well as their support team members, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on the UFC Anti-Doping Program website (https://UFC.USADA.org) regarding the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements, as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.
In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (https://UFC.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, and periodic athlete alerts. Many of the resources available to athletes are provided in multiple languages, including Russian, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.
Along with education and testing, robust anti-doping programs enable investigations stemming from tips and whistleblowers. USADA makes available a number of ways to report the abuse of performance-enhancing drugs in sport in an effort to protect clean athletes and promote clean competition. Any tip can be reported using the USADA Play Clean Tip Center, by email at playclean @usada.org, by phone at 1 877-Play Clean (1-877-752-9253), or by mail.