The US Anti-Doping Company (USADA) has suspended veteran MMA fighter Gilbert Melendez for 2 years, regardless of Melendez now not being underneath UFC contract. Melendez, in the meantime, is arguing that USADA had no proper to check him within the first place.

USADA, the UFC’s contracted anti-doping accomplice, introduced Monday that it had received its arbitration case towards Melendez. The arbitrator decided that Melendez must be suspended two years after he examined constructive for GHRP-6, a banned growth-hormone-releasing peptide. The ban, which encompasses solely the UFC, is retroactive to Nov. 1, 2019, the date of Melendez’s preliminary provisional suspension.

The small print of the case are distinctive. Melendez is now not on the UFC roster — and the previous Strikeforce champion argued in arbitration that he was launched by the UFC earlier than the USADA administered this take a look at. Melendez stated the USADA now not had jurisdiction over him, given he was now not a UFC athlete.

Melendez at present works as an MMA analyst for ESPN.

In a letter backdated Oct. 12, 2019, UFC chief enterprise officer Hunter Campbell knowledgeable Melendez that he was launched from the UFC. The take a look at was performed Oct. 16, 2019. The UFC had determined to launch Melendez in both late September or early October, however didn’t instantly inform Melendez nor the USADA. Melendez offered the letter to arbitrators as proof and Campbell testified on Melendez’s behalf, per the arbitration choice.

“I am an inactive fighter,” Melendez advised ESPN. “I used to be launched from the UFC earlier than this take a look at was taken. I consider [USADA] has no jurisdiction over me. … I am a personal citizen and it is nobody’s enterprise what I am placing into my physique at that time.”

Melendez stated he appears like he received the case, as a result of the arbitrator dominated that the ban concerned solely the UFC and he was free to compete in different promotions, in addition to nook teammates, if he so wished. Melendez stated he is at present “retired and targeted on recovering my physique.”

“In USADA’s launch, I consider they failed to acknowledge that every one the arbitrator awarded them was that I can not struggle within the UFC for 2 years — which I wasn’t going to do anyway, as a result of I used to be launched,” Melendez stated.

The USADA argued in arbitration that nobody from the UFC or Melendez’s group knowledgeable the company previous to the take a look at being administered that Melendez was now not underneath UFC contract. Melendez was nonetheless within the drug-testing pool on the time his pattern was collected, the USADA stated, and if Melendez knew he was launched he wouldn’t have made himself accessible for the take a look at.

Melendez (22-8) is without doubt one of the most achieved light-weight fighters ever in MMA. The California native was arguably the highest fighter in Strikeforce historical past with essentially the most wins (11), most title defenses (6) and most championship bouts (10). Melendez, 38, was introduced over to the UFC when UFC mum or dad firm Zuffa purchased Strikeforce in 2011. Melendez misplaced a detailed cut up choice towards Benson Henderson for the light-weight title in his UFC debut. Extra not too long ago, Melendez has misplaced 5 straight.

That is Melendez’s second doping suspension. He was suspended one 12 months by the UFC for testing constructive for exogenous testosterone metabolites in 2015.