On Thursday, heavyweight Ben Rothwell (pictured) announced he has been issued a nine-month suspension for elevated levels of testosterone.
Here’s the interesting part of Rothwell’s predicament, he wasn’t banned by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, the commission who oversaw his TKO victory over Brandon Vera at UFC 164. The 31-year-old was suspended by the UFC.
Although Rothwell requested and was granted a therapeutic-use exemption for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for August’s bout with Vera, and he claims to have remained under the permitted testosterone levels throughout training camp, he ultimately flunked his post-fight drug test.
Rothwell said Wisconsin’s governing body issued him a warning after his failed exam came to light, but the UFC decided to take it a step further and have the 265-pounder ride the pine for nine months for his “mistake.”
Rothwell, a 13-year veteran, has alternated between wins and losses over his past nine outings. Coincidentally (or maybe not), his performance against Vera was the most impressive he’s looked in quite some time – if not ever.
No word if Vera will look to appeal the loss and have the match overturned to a no contest. It would mark the second time (UFC 125 against Thiago Silva) Vera had a defeat reversed after his opponent tested positive for a banned substance.
UFC 164 took place August 31 inside Bradley Center in Milwaukee.
Here’s Rothwell’s complete statement to MMAJunkie.com:
“Following my victory at UFC 164 I was informed I tested for an elevated level of testosterone. This came as a shock because I had applied for and was granted a TRT exemption and was doing so under the supervision of a doctor. I was tested every week for eight weeks prior to the fight and was well under the acceptable level each time.
“I had applied for TRT after an endocrinologist and Wisconsin athletic doctors diagnosed me with hypogonadism. They felt it was caused by a car crash in 1999 that left me with severe head trauma and in a coma. Doctors told me TRT was something that could stop the hypogonadism from degrading my body.
“After getting the news of the elevated test, I spoke with the Wisconsin Athletic Commission and they decided to give me an administrative warning. I was told they didn’t think I tried to cheat, but felt some punishment was necessary.
“I have now been informed the UFC has elected to suspend me for nine months. I am not going to fight the suspension as I feel ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure I stay under the acceptable limit. I am deeply sorry for this mistake and apologize to my fans, family and friends.”
(Updated 10/3/13 at 7:15 PM PT):
UFC has released a statement regarding Rothwell’s suspension:
As the result of a blood test indicating an elevated level of testosterone in his system following UFC 164 in Milwaukee, Wisc., on Aug. 31, the UFC has suspended heavyweight Ben Rothwell for nine months from the date of the contest.
Rothwell’s post-fight blood test was administered by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services. While the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services has elected not to impose any discipline on Rothwell, to date, the UFC holds its athletes to a high standard of personal and professional conduct and finds that Rothwell’s actions merit the suspension as a violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC.
Upon completion of his suspension, Rothwell must also submit a negative drug test before being allowed to compete in a UFC event.