The MMA world was dealt a disheartening blow to one of 2017’s most heartwarming comeback stories when The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 25 winner Jesse Taylor was found to have been flagged for a potential violation by USADA in an out-of-competition drug test.
The news was such a shock because it derailed a comeback that took several years to realize, as Taylor was previously removed from the TUF 7 Finale after a well-documented drunken escapade in Las Vegas. Taylor was removed from his scheduled upcoming bout with Belal Muhammad at November 18’s UFC Fight Night 121 from Sydney, Australia, and his exact fighting future now hangs in the balance.
Taylor recently released a statement on the matter on Instagram, apologizing to Australian fans before reminding everyone to let his due process play out before judging him:
The truth will come to Light! I am just as shocked and surprised by this tragedy. Our Team is looking into this matter. Let due process do it work before judging on the matter. Those that know me know this is wrong. We will Fight this and I will be back. I am sorry to Aussie friends and fans but that fight is off due to to this matter I am very bummed but we will get to bottom of this. I’ll Be BaCk
Like the many other fighters who have been flagged by USADA since their testing partnership began with the UFC over two years ago, Taylor is of course afforded his full due process as his team attempts to formulate a feasible reason for the possible violation.
But it’s the same response we hear from nearly every fighter who is flagged by USADA, as really only Lyoto Machida and Chad Mendes have owned up to the mistake and taken their suspensions. Nearly every other fighter uses some sort of tainted supplement reply, and while Taylor didn’t exactly do that, saying the truth will come to light implies he was wronged just like every MMA athlete claims they were.
That’s not to say Taylor is guilty or not guilty; however, only Tim Means and Yoel Romero have gotten a reduced suspension for having a supplement actually found to have been unknowingly tainted.
Either way, let’s hope Taylor’s suggestion proves true, because if he was found to be on performance-enhancing drugs, the comeback he worked the majority of his MMA career for might be over before it even started.