Yoel Romero’s (pictured) status as UFC middleweight top contender is in serious jeopardy.
On Tuesday, the UFC announced the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has notified them that Romero has potentially flunked an out-of-competition drug test in December’s split decision victory over “Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC 194.
“The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Yoel Romero of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection,” the UFC expressed in a statement. “USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Romero.
“Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”
The UFC partnered with the USADA to conduct year-round, in- (six hours before and after fights) and out-of-competition drug testing on all UFC fighters beginning this past July 1. The screenings included urine and blood.
Under the UFC’s new policy, first-time offenders for performance-enhancing drug will receive a two-year ban, four years with “aggravating circumstance.” The suspension is doubled for the second offense and double of the second penalty on the third offense.
Marijuana and other recreational drugs will only be tested in-competition. These failed screenings will result in a one-year suspension, two years for aggravating circumstance. The suspension is doubled for the second offense and double of the second penalty on the third offense.
If found guilty, Romero’s December 12 win will be overturned to a no contest and he will be subjected to a fine. The W had marked “The Soldier of God’s” seventh consecutive.
Romero essentially cemented his spot as the division’s top contender with his win over Souza, but that chatter can be killed following today’s news. Luke Rockhold has been asking for a rematch against Vitor Belfort to be his first title defense, and it appears the freshly-minted champ might get his wishes.