UFC featherweight contender, Yair ‘El Pantera’ Rodriguez has been issued a six-month retroactive suspension from anti-doping agency, USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) following a whereabouts violation.
The Chihuahua native has been consistently linked with a high-stakes potential title-eliminator opposite fellow perennial contender, Zabit Magomedsharipov — with a possible pairing floated as recently at UFC Vegas 8 in August, but was forced to withdraw from the headlining clash after he had suffered an ankle injury.
Rodriguez, 28, has been issued and accepted a six-month retroactive to September 8th. suspension, ruling him from active competition until March 8th. of 2021, per a press release from the promotion.
News of Rodriguez’s suspension follows a recent cagey statement from UFC president, Dana White who failed to provide media with an update regarding the striker’s fighting future and any possible plans to book him under the promotion’s banner.
The former Jackson-Wink MMA trainee, who has suffered just one organizational defeat, is unbeaten in his last three Octagon outings, taking home a stunning final-second upward-elbow knockout win over one-time title challenger, ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Night Denver in 2018.
Involved in two recent pairings with promotional veteran, Jeremy ‘Lil’ Heathen’ Stephens, Rodriguez headlined UFC Fight Night Mexico City in September of last year, in an eventual ‘No Contest’ just fifteen-seconds into the first frame after Stephens had suffered an accidental eye-poke.
Most recently, the Taekwondo black belt took home a unanimous decision victory over Stephens in their UFC Fight Night Boston co-headliner in October of 2019.
A six-year Octagon veteran, Rodriguez was infamously granted his release from the promotion for reportedly rejecting bout agreements to meet with the above-mentioned, Magomedsharipov, and one-time title chaser, Ricardo Lamas, with the promotion ultimately ironing out the issue.
The 13-2-(1) striker has managed UFC wins over the likes of Andre Fili, Dan Hooker, Alex Caceres, and a UFC Fight Night Phoenix knockout over former lightweight and welterweight gold holder, B.J. Penn.