Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Gilbert Melendez Reacts To Two-Year USADA Sanction

Gilbert Melendez has spoken out on his two-year suspension from USADA.

Melendez was flagged by USADA for a violation of the anti-doping policy. While Melendez isn’t an active member of the UFC roster anymore, the test was administered back in Oct. 2019 which was a month before “El Nino’s” UFC release was made public. Melendez insists the test was taken after his UFC release but an independent arbitrator ruled Melendez should sit on the sidelines until Nov. 1, 2021.

Gilbert Melendez Speaks Out On USADA Suspension

Melendez spoke to ESPN and gave his side of the story.

“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.”

Melendez went on to say that he believes he’d be able to compete anywhere outside the UFC if he wanted to as his sanction only applies to UFC bouts.

“In USADA’s release, I believe they failed to recognize that all 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.

With that said, Melendez insists that he is retired. His main focus is allowing his body to recover after years of wear and tear.

Melendez’s UFC run ended with a 1-6 record during his time with the promotion. It was a far cry from his days under the Strikeforce banner, where he was a two-time lightweight champion. Still, if Melendez truly is retired, then longtime fight fans won’t soon forget his memorable bouts with the likes of Josh Thomson and Diego Sanchez.

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