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Dana White Explains UFC’s Unprecedented Move to Suspend Ben Rothwell

Written by Tom Ngo
October 18th, 2013
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UFC Heavyweight Ben Rothwell

Earlier this month, the UFC suspended heavyweight Ben Rothwell (pictured) nine months for elevated levels of testosterone. The veteran was prescribed TRT for his UFC 164 bout against Brandon Vera.

It was an unprecedented move by the UFC because the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, the commission who oversaw Rothwell’s TKO victory over Vera, didn’t ban him but merely issued him a “warning” for the infraction.

On Thursday, UFC president Dana White shed light on why he needed to discipline Rothwell when the committee that the U.S. Government authorized to sanction August’s event didn’t.  

“It’s not that I felt they weren’t doing their job,” White said of Wisconsin’s governing body. “I told you guys, however long ago it was, what our stance on TRT was. We have a position on TRT, and anybody that does it, no matter where we are, we’re gonna go after guys that are abusing TRT.

“[The UFC does other testing], too. We pre-test. I told you, we test the s*** out of Vitor Belfort, and any other guys that we know are taking testosterone have to check in with [UFC VP of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner] and we go down there and we test them.”

Rothwell said he was stunned when notified of his flunked post-fight drug exam. He claimed to be under the permitted testosterone levels throughout his training camp.

White didn’t seem to buy it, nor care to hear his excuses.

“Hey, you can be as shocked as you want to be,” Whtie said of Rothwell’s reaction. “Now you’re sitting on the f****** sidelines for nine months. When you’re a professional athlete, this is serious s***. You better know what’s going on with your own f****** body, and what’s going in it, and when it’s going in it and how much of it is going in it.”

No word if Vera has filed an appeal to have the loss 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.

Vera was initially released by the UFC after losing to Silva, but was brought back after the failed screening was announced. White wasn’t sure if the UFC had fired Vera again, though it seemed “The Truth’s” job was secure for the time being.

“Did we cut Vera?” White asked the media. “I would imagine if he hasn’t been cut yet, then he hasn’t been cut.”

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