Jesse Taylor Flagged By USADA, Removed From Upcoming Bout

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Jesse Taylor’s feel-good comeback story could be stopping in its tracks before it really even had a chance to begin rolling.

The UFC announced on their official website today that Taylor, who just recently won the aptly-named The Ultimate fighter (TUF) 25: Redemption in July after squandering his chance in the finals of TUF 7 years ago after he went on a drunken rampage in Las Vegas, had been flagged for a potential USADA violation in an out-of-competition test and was removed from his upcoming bout with Belal Muhammad at UFC Fight Night 121.

Read their full statement here:

“The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Jesse Taylor of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on August 22, 2017. Because of the proximity to Taylor’s upcoming scheduled bout in Sydney, Australia on November 18, 2017, against Belal Muhammad, Taylor has been removed from the card and the UFC is currently seeking a replacement.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Taylor. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”

Taylor submitted Dhiego Lima, who was a finalist at 2014’s TUF 19, in the finals in the co-main event of July 7’s TUF 25 Finale from Las Vegas. Throughout the show, Taylor ran through competition with shocking ease due to his dominant wrestling as a member of bantamweight title challenger TJ Dillashaw’s team.

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He was set to meet Muhammad at the November 19 (which airs on November 18 in the U.S.) card from Sydney, Australia, to begin his second – and hopefully much more successful – UFC run, his first ending when he lost one bout against C.B. Dollaway after the UFC pulled him from his scheduled TUF 7 final versus eventual winner Amir Sadollah. Taylor spent several years fighting his way through regional organizations to get another chance in the UFC.

But now his comeback is on hold for the foreseeable future, and could be tainted significantly if he is found to have used performance-enhancing drugs. As every fighter is, Taylor is owed the full due process and will have a chance to plead his case in a hearing before any punishment is dealt to him.