Gilbert Melendez has opened up on his second USADA suspension.
On Monday, it was revealed that the former Strikeforce lightweight champion was suspended two-years by USADA. It was his second time receiving a suspension. But, what makes it strange is the fact Melendez is no longer a member of the UFC. He was tested after he got released so he doesn’t understand why he was tested or suspended.
“I’m an inactive fighter,” Melendez told ESPN. “I was released from the UFC before this test was taken. I believe [USADA] has no jurisdiction over me. … I’m a private citizen and it’s no one’s business what I’m putting into my body at that point.”
One silver lining for Melendez is he took the suspension to an arbitrator where they said the suspension only applied to the UFC. So, the former Strikeforce champ is still eligible to compete in promotions like Bellator, ONE Championship, or PFL.
“In USADA’s release, I believe they failed to recognize that the arbitrator awarded them was that I can’t fight in the UFC for two years, which I wasn’t going to do anyway because I was released,” Melendez said.
Now that Gilbert Melendez is no longer a member of the UFC, he shouldn’t have been tested by USADA. So, as he says, it doesn’t matter what he puts in his body now given he shouldn’t be tested.
Melendez entered the UFC on a seven-fight winning streak with notable wins over Josh Thomson and Jorge Masvidal and got an immediate UFC title shot. But, he fell just short losing by split decision to Benson Henderson. He would go on to win his next fight over Diego Sanchez but lost five straight to the likes of Anthony Pettis, Eddie Alvarez, and Edson Barboza.
The 38-year-old was released from the UFC in November with a record of 1-6 inside the Octagon.
What do you make of Gilbert Melendez being released by USADA?