Kelvin Gastelum competed in the co-main event of UFC 244, suffering a unanimous decision loss to Darren Till. The loss may not have been the worst thing to happen at UFC 244 for Gastelum, as the fighter also failed an in-competition drug test issued by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). This is the second time that Gastelum has failed a USADA issued drug test, as the fighter also failed a test in 2017.
The fighter “tested positive for 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (Carboxy-THC) over the Decision Limit of 180 ng/mL, a urinary metabolite of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and/or hashish.”
Gastelum was initially awarded a fourteen month suspension, but had five months taken off after the fighter successfully completed a drug treatment program. Gastelum is going to be able to compete again on August 3 of this year, since his suspension is retroactive to the date of the drug test failure.
USADA issued the following press release on the matter:
Kelvin Gastelum Accepts Sanction for Second Violation of UFC Anti-Doping Policy
USADA announced today that Kelvin Gastelum, of Huntington Beach, Calif., has accepted a nine-month sanction for his second violation of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy (UFC APD) and received a five-month reduction to his sanction following the successful completion of a drug treatment program.
Gastelum, 28, tested positive for 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (Carboxy-THC) over the Decision Limit of 180 ng/mL, a urinary metabolite of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and/or hashish as the result of a sample collected in-competition at UFC 244 New York, New York on November 3, 2019. Cannabis, marijuana, and hashish are Specified Substances in the class of Cannabinoids and prohibited in-competition under the UFC Prohibited List.
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. Gastelum also tested positive for Carboxy-THC in 2017 and accepted the resulting sanction.
Gastelum’s nine-month period of ineligibility began on November 3, 2019, the date his positive sample was collected. Based on Gastelum’s successful completion of a drug treatment program, his period of ineligibility was reduced by five months.
In addition, Gastelum’s positive test falls under the jurisdiction of the New York State Athletic Commission, which is handling the case in accordance with its rules.
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.