Here’s a road that’s all too familiar for Ben Rothwell (pictured). On Tuesday, the UFC heavyweight was flagged by the USADA for a potential anti-doping violation on an out-of-competition sample collected on February 6.
The substance(s) discovered in Rothwell’s system was not disclosed. The USADA has provisionally suspended Rothwell pending an investigation.
Rothwell was slated to face Fabricio Werdum at UFC 211. It is unknown if the UFC will look to find Werdum a new opponent for the May 13 event or save the former champion for another day.
Rothwell registered for elevated levels of testosterone after steamrolling an undersized Brandon Vera at UFC 164. The 35-year-old was granted a therapeutic-use exemption for then-legal testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), but that doesn’t change the fact that his testosterone levels were beyond the permitted limits.
The initial point of permitting TRT in MMA was to allow those with low testosterone to bring their levels back up to normal ranges.
For all intense and purposes, Rothwell cheated that night – whether he wanted to admit it publicly or not. That’s why the UFC suspended him nine months and he didn’t fight the ban.
TRT has since been banned by the UFC.
Rothwell was red hot entering April’s critical bout with former champion Junior dos Santos. However, Rothwell had his four-fight win streak snapped courtesy of an admitted poor strategy.
Rothwell is facing at least a two-year suspension if found guilty. However, some of his fellow UFC fighters have received lesser bans, or avoided suspension altogether, with various defenses. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.