Deontay Wilder's upcoming title defense set for November 4 has now been canceled after his opponent Luis Ortiz failed a random drug test administered by VADA.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman announced on social media that Ortiz failed a VADA urine drug test conducted on September 22 at his training camp in Miami. The results came back late September 28, and Ortiz's "A" sample tested positive for the banned diuretics chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, which are used to treat high blood pressure but also can be used as masking agents for performance-enhancing drug use.
Ortiz can still have his "B" sample tested, but it is not often that the "B" sample provides a different result from the "A" sample. This is Ortiz's second failed drug test after he tested positive for steroids in 2014 after he defeated Lateef Kayode to win the then-vacant WBA interim heavyweight championship.
Promoter Lou DiBella confirmed the news to ESPN and said he is very disappointed for Wilder.
"I can verify the information Mauricio put out," DiBella said. "I'm flabbergasted and particularly crestfallen for my fighter. Deontay Wilder is a great champion and a clean champion and probably has been victimized more than any other fighter in the history of the sport."
Wilder was actually supposed to face mandatory challenger Bermane Stiverne, but Wilder wanted to fight either unified WBA and IBF champion Anthony Joshua or Ortiz first.
Wilder and Stiverne's respective camps managed to come to a resolution several weeks back, with Stiverne receiving step-aside money to allow Wilder to go ahead with the Ortiz bout. The agreement called for Stiverne to fight on the televised undercard against Dominic Breazeale in a title eliminator.
Had Stiverne won his fight on November 4, he would have faced the WBC champion next whether it would have been Wilder or Ortiz, likely in early 2018, but now that the Wilder fight is canceled, there is no telling if Stiverne would be upgraded to the main event or if the impromptu title eliminator will go on and be the headlining fight. There is still a chance for Wilder to fight in the main event, albeit would have to come against someone else.
Stiverne had been named the WBC’s No. 1 contender in January after his WBC interim title fight against Alexander Povetkin was scrapped when Povetkin tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Wilder has had an extremely unlucky 2017 when it comes to his opponents. His lone fight in 2017, against Gerald Washington, had a different opponent, Andrzej Wawrzyk. As it was the case with Ortiz, Wawrzyk also failed a drug test several weeks before the fight takes place and was taken off the February 25 card.
There is still no news on if Wilder will fight another replacement opponent or if he will not fight at all on the card. DiBella and Showtime Sports executive vice president Stephen Espinoza will discuss what to do about Wilder and the card, which is scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on November 4.