Heavyweight Ben Rothwell today announced he is suspended for nine months for elevated levels of testosterone.
The suspension, however, was not handed down by the athletic commission that oversaw his most recent fight, but instead his promoter, the UFC.
In a statement released to MMAjunkie.com, Rothwell (33-9 MMA, 3-2 UFC) said he came back high for testosterone following his third-round TKO over Brandon Vera (12-7 MMA, 8-7 UFC) at UFC 164, which took place Aug. 31 at Milwaukee's Bradley Center.
Rothwell said the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services, which oversaw the event, did not elect to suspend him, but rather issue an "administrative warning." Despite that warning, the UFC decided to bench him for nine months.
Rothwell explained the situation in his statement:
"Following my victory at UFC 164 I was informed I tested for an elevated level of testosterone. This came as a shock because I had applied for and was granted a TRT exemption and was doing so under the supervision of a doctor. I was tested every week for eight weeks prior to the fight and was well under the acceptable level each time.
"I had applied for TRT after an endocrinologist and Wisconsin athletic doctors diagnosed me with hypogonadism. They felt it was caused by a car crash in 1999 that left me with severe head trauma and in a coma. Doctors told me TRT was something that could stop the hypogonadism from degrading my body.
"After getting the news of the elevated test, I spoke with the Wisconsin Athletic Commission and they decided to give me an administrative warning. I was told they didn't think I tried to cheat, but felt some punishment was necessary.
"I have now been informed the UFC has elected to suspend me for nine months. I am not going to fight the suspension as I feel ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure I stay under the acceptable limit. I am deeply sorry for this mistake and apologize to my fans, family and friends."