Gilbert Melendez receives two-year USADA suspension

Gilbert-Melendez

Gilbert Melendez, who is no longer a member of the UFC roster, has been suspended for two years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

USADA, the official anti-doping partner of the UFC, announced this news in a Monday press release:

USADA announced today that an independent arbitrator has rendered a decision in the case of UFC® athlete Gilbert Melendez, of Brisbane, Calif., and determined that Melendez should receive a two-year period of ineligibility for his anti-doping policy violation, precluding him from competing in any UFC bouts. This decision comes after the facts of the case were presented and argued.

Melendez, 38, tested positive for GHRP-6 and its metabolites GHRP-6(2-5)-OH and GHRP-6(2-6)-OH as the result of a urine sample collected out-of-competition on October 16, 2019. GHRP-6 is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics, and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.

Melendez’s two-year period of ineligibility began on November 1, 2019, the date his provisional suspension was imposed. The jurisdictional and merits awards can be found here, along with all other UFC Anti-Doping Policy arbitral decisions.

While Melendez did not contest the presence of GHRP-6 and its metabolites in his sample nor identify a source of the prohibited peptide, he did challenge USADA’s jurisdiction to conduct the test. The arbitrator concluded that USADA did have jurisdiction to both conduct the test and allege an anti-doping policy violation in the event of a positive sample, as was the case.

As MMA Analyst Luke Thomas points out, the positive test in question actually occurred after Melendez’s UFC contract had been terminated, but USADA had not yet been notified by the promotion.

Unfortunately for Melendez, most North American athletic commissions honor USADA suspensions, meaning he will not be able to fight until November 2021 unless he fights overseas, in a region that does no recognize’s USADA’s authority.

Gilbert Melendez, who previously contender for the UFC lightweight title, last fought in July, 2019, when he was defeated by Arnold Allen.