UFC middleweight David Branch has reportedly been given his walking papers after testing positive for banned substances and receiving a two-year suspension by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for the infraction.
Veteran MMA journalist Mike Russell reported the news on Twitter that Branch has been released by the UFC after USADA announced his suspension yesterday. Russell also revealed that Branch has left Dominance MMA.
Here’s what Russell said:
Hearing from multiple sources Branch was released by the UFC as a result of the failed test and suspension. https://t.co/6q0lxj0bIt
— Mike Russell (@MIKERUSSELLMMA) September 19, 2019
“Hearing from multiple sources Branch was released by the UFC as a result of the failed test and suspension.”
Branch was a two-division champion in the WSOF, having been the promotion’s last middleweight and light heavyweight champions. When WSOF merged into the PFL, Branch was allowed to explore free agency and decided to return to the UFC, where he had an unsuccessful stint earlier in the decade. Along with Justin Gaethje and Marlon Moraes, Branch was a client of Ali Abdelaziz and former WSOF champion who signed a lucrative contract with the UFC. Not anymore.
Branch’s second stint in the UFC didn’t go the way he wanted. After winning a split decision over Krzysztof Jotko in his return bout, Branch was given a main event slot against Luke Rockhold but tapped out to strikes. He then picked up arguably the biggest win of his career, a knockout over Thiago Santos, before losing back-to-back fights to Jared Cannonier and Jack Hermansson by stoppage. Branch last competed in March, with a fight against Andrew Sanchez recently being scrapped for the UFC Vancouver card.
Currently 37, Branch will not be able return to competition in the UFC until he’s 39-years-old, and at that point it made no sense for the UFC to keep him around. Branch will be free to explore other options in North America when he is able to return in 2021, but there’s a chance he may look to fight in Asia or Europe in the meantime.
Do you think David Branch will be picked up by another promotion?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/19/2019.