Luis Ortiz Stripped Of WBA Mandatory Challenger Status, Suspended For One Year

Luis Ortiz's failed VADA drug test cost him more than a shot at the WBC heavyweight title: he can't even challenge for the WBA title.

The WBA has ruled that Ortiz's status as the mandatory challenger to the WBA "super" heavyweight championship, currently held by Anthony Joshua, has been revoked. Ortiz has also been suspended by the organization for one year, ending on September 22, 2018.

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The suspension means that Ortiz is unable to compete in a WBA-sanctioned match and his name is removed from the WBA rankings. Ortiz is able to request for reinstatement after March 22, 2018, six months after the suspension takes place. Ortiz can still fight for other organizations, but because Joshua also holds the IBF title, Ortiz can't challenge for the IBF title if the WBA title is also on the line.

Ortiz tested positive for chlorothiazide and hydrochlorothiazide, two banned diuretics known to be masking agents for performance-enhancing drugs, in a random urine test conducted by VADA on September 22, taking him out of the WBC title fight he was supposed to have against Deontay Wilder on November 4. Bermane Stiverne has stepped up to challenge Wilder for the belt.

Ortiz did not deny he took the substances, but he said it was because they were in medication prescribed to regulate high blood pressure. However, when he filled out his VADA testing paperwork, Ortiz did not indicate he was taking the medication despite the questionnaire asking specifically about any he might be on. Ortiz also had not asked for a therapeutic-use exemption.

The suspension comes in part due to Ortiz's past issues with failing drug tests. This is the second time in three years that Ortiz failed a drug test. Ortiz failed a pre-fight drug test in September 2014 when he fought for the vacant WBA interim title. It was revealed that Ortiz took the banned anabolic steroid nandrolone in the post-fight drug screen.

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