Kelvin Gastelum has been suspended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency for three months.
Gastelum was originally slated to face off against former UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva at UFC 212 on pay-per-view (PPV) from Brazil, however, he was removed from the contest after being flagged by USADA. Gastelum tested positive for Carboxy-THC, the pharmacologically-active metabolite found in marijuana.
Originally, Gastelum was handed a six month suspension for the failed test, which was taken in-competition on March 11th, the same night of his main event bout against Vitor Belfort in Brazil. As a result, the Brazilian MMA Sports Court (STJDMMA) handed the 25-year-old a three month suspension and fined him 20 percent of his fight purse.
His win over Belfort was later overturned to a No Contest.
Gastelum is currently on a two-fight win streak with his recent knockout win over Belfort having been overturned. His last Octagon win saw him finish the now-retired Tim Kennedy in the third round of their UFC 206 PPV matchup back in December.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 (TUF 17) winner’s only losses in his mixed martial arts (MMA) career have come via split decision, and they’ve been to the likes of Neil Magny and current 170-pound title holder Tyron Woodley.
After making the jump up to 185 pounds Gastelum seemed to be presenting himself as a legitimate title threat at both the UFC’s welterweight and middleweight divisions. His recent trials with USADA will certainly take a toll on that momentum.
Gastelum will be eligible to return to action as early as June 11th.
His removal from the UFC 212 PPV sparked a fire under Anderson Silva, who called for an interim middleweight title bout against No. 1-ranked Yoel Romero, and threatened to retire if it wasn’t granted. UFC President Dana White responded by saying that if “The Spider” has retirement on his mind then he probably shouldn’t be in the Octagon anymore.
The middleweight division was in a bit of an awkward position after it was announced that former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre would be coming out of retirement to challenge Michael Bisping for the 185-pound throne. Fighters such as Anderson Silva and Luke Rockhold had expressed displeasure with the Canadian’s immediate title opportunity, but that frustration may have turned into joy in light of recent events.
It was announced yesterday (Fri. May 12, 2017) by Dana White that plans for Bisping vs. “Rush” are now off and that No. 1-ranked Yoel Romero would be getting his rightful title shot. The UFC’s current middleweight division is full of great talent such as Chris Weidman, ‘Jacare’ Souza, Robbert Whittaker, Luke Rockhold, Gegard Mousasi (currently a free agent), and Kelvin Gastelum.
If Gastelum is able to make a statement in his next middleweight bout inside the Octagon, he could be right in the title mix as well.