Fabricio Werdum says UFC refused to release him despite USADA suspension

Fabricio Werdum

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum wants out of his UFC contract, but the world’s leading MMA promotion is holding him to it.

In an interview with Combate, Werdum admitted he asked the UFC to terminate his contract following his USADA suspension due to performance-enhancing drugs. Werdum said the UFC told him no, and that he must finish out his contract once he is eligible to return to the Octagon in 2020.

“I have two more UFC fights. I tried to terminate the contract, but they didn’t let me, because I’m a former champion and they still wanted me around, so cutting ties right now is out of the table,” Werdum said (transcription by Bloody Elbow). “But if I had the possibility before, I would, because of my age, it would be better for my career. Since it wasn’t possible, I’ll stay fight two more times. Let’s see how it goes in the future.”

Although the UFC won’t release Fabricio Werdum, there is precedence for his request. Frank Mir, another former UFC heavyweight champion, was granted his release from the UFC a few years ago after a failed USADA test, and he went on to sign with Bellator.

Werdum is currently 41 years old and he will not be eligible to return to the UFC until May 2020, when he’ll be 42. The last time we saw Werdum fight was in March 2018 against Alexander Volkov, when he suffered a brutal upset KO loss. His last win came in November 2017 against Marcin Tybura. He was scheduled to fight Alexey Oleynik in 2018 before a failed USADA tested forced him from the fight, and he’s been on the sidelines since.

Despite testing positive by USADA, Fabricio Werdum maintains his innocence.

“I thought it was unfair, because I’m aware I didn’t take anything. I know it, I know it was a contamination. It’s tough because I have 28 USADA tests and never had a problem, but my background meant nothing to them. I think they made an example out of me because I have a big name and am used to be an UFC champion. They knew there was very little of the substance,” Werdum said.

“The most surprising thing was that I tested positive, they didn’t say anything, they just came a week later to test me again and that one came out negative. Once again, this shows the contamination. I think they are experienced enough when someone is taking something on purpose and when it’s a contamination.”

But despite his pleas to be let go, the UFC wants to hold Werdum to his contract, and now he must wait until next May for his long-awaited return to the Octagon.

Should the UFC release Fabricio Werdum or should he honor his contract?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 7/2/2019.