Robert Drysdale's UFC debut is likely scratched a second time.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has declined to medically clear the jiu-jitsu player turned MMA fighter to compete at next month's UFC 167 event after an out-of-competition drug test revealed an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio.
Drysdale (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who was scheduled to meet light heavyweight Cody Donovan (8-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) in the Nov. 16 event's first preliminary-card bout, was flagged with a 19.4-1 T/E ratio, which is more than three times the NSAC's 6-1 limit. He tested negative for a variety of steroids.
NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer today confirmed the abnormal result with MMAjunkie.com and added that as of yet, Drysdale is not suspended or fined as the result of the failed test.
Both Drysdale and UFC officials were unreachable for comment at the time of this writing.
UFC 167 takes place at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event's main card airs live on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and MMAjunkie.com.
Drysdale's history with TRT could play a part in whether he faces any additional punishment. Less than a month before his scheduled UFC debut at UFC 163 against Ednaldo Oliveira earlier this year, he submitted paperwork to obtain a therapeutic-use exemption (TUE) to undergo testosterone-replacement therapy (TRT), according to documents MMAjunkie.com obtained through a public records request.
On his application, which is dated July 8, 2013, the 32-year-old Drysdale stated the TUE request was his first. He certified that he hadn't used or was currently using banned substances and had no previous positive tests. Also included in the paperwork was a letter from a Las Vegas-based anti-aging clinic, TrimBody M.D., that stated Drysdale was taking weekly testosterone injections at the clinic to treat hypogonadism.
Additionally, a blood exam from Clinical Pathology Laboratories showed Drysdale had a free testosterone level of 156 ng/mL, which was below the testing facility's normal range of 292 ng/mL to 1052 ng/mL. He was within the laboratory's normal range for follicle-stimulating hormone (6.0 mIU/mL) and luteinizing hormone (2.1 mIU/mL).
Taken together, the levels are important determining factors in the diagnosis of primary or secondary hypogonadism, a condition in which the body fails to produce normal levels of testosterone. They also play a significant part in deciding whether an athlete is cleared for an exemption.
Despite filing TUE paperwork, Drysdale did not receive an exemption, according to Kizer. On July 16, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Drysdale withdrew from UFC 163, which took place Aug. 3 in Rio de Janeiro and was overseen by the Brazilian Athletic Commission, due to a staph infection.
After a decorated career in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which included a gold medal in the 2007 Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling World Championship, Drysdale transitioned to MMA and made his professional debut in 2010. He amassed a record of 6-0 before drawing a contract offer from the UFC, which signed him to fight at UFC 163.