Anderson Silva needs a new opponent as Kelvin Gastelum pops for marijuana metabolites
Whatever your stance on weed and how its use should be treated in professional sports, it's hard to feel too sorry for Kelvin Gastelum.
The vast majority of us can all agree that the presence of marijuana in UFC fighters' systems should not be punished so severely by the United States Anti-Doping Agency but it is a rule and it is a rule of which all competitors are aware.
And Gastelum seems to have a very hard time abiding by those pesky rules.
Gastelum (14-2) has been pulled from his upcoming fight against Anderson Silva, the most high-profile of the 25-year-old's contests to date, after testing positive for marijuana metabolites stemming from an in-competition sample taken while he was in Brazil to take on Vitor Belfort.
The Ultimate Fighter Season 17 winner called for a clash with 'The Spider' immediately in the wake of his knockout victory over Belfort and his wish was granted but Gastelum will have to return to the drawing board as he has been withdrawn from UFC 212 after being notified by USADA, the UFC's anti-doping partner, of his potential violation.
Below is the official UFC statement on the matter:
"The UFC organisation was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Kelvin Gastelum of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation involving Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (“Carboxy-THC”) which is a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected in conjunction with his recent bout in Fortaleza, Brazil on March 11, 2017.
"USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Gastelum, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation. Because the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) was the regulatory body overseeing the fight in Fortaleza and has licensing jurisdiction over Gastelum, USADA will work to ensure that the Commission has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of Gastelum’s potential anti-doping violation. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
"As a result of the potential anti-doping violation against Gastelum, USADA has placed him under a provisional suspension. While the UFC Anti-Doping Policy affords Gastelum full and fair due process rights before any possible adjudication of his case, because of the proximity to Gastelum’s scheduled June 3rd bout against Anderson Silva, Gastelum is being removed from the card and a replacement is currently being sought."
The news comes as an unwelcome speed bump which will undoubtedly halt Gastelum's head of steam in the UFC's middleweight division.
Gastelum had just enjoyed consecutive knockouts over ranked competition at 185lbs, leading many to believe it was the perfect weight class for him after his series of weight-misses at his previous home of welterweight.
Having officially failed to make the 170lbs weight limit on two occasions, Gastelum was told that UFC President Dana White would no longer allow him to compete at that weight class after he failed to make it to the scales for his scheduled welterweight meeting with Donald Cerrone at UFC 205.
The failed USADA test is the latest indiscretion in the career of one of the most talented prospects that the Octagon has seen in years and one that is sure to frustrate fight fans.
As for Anderson Silva and his place on the UFC 212 card in Rio de Janeiro, MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani has revealed that the former UFC middleweight champion is open to the idea of fighting Uriah Hall on June 3.
I'm told Anderson Silva is open to fighting Uriah Hall at UFC 212, according to sources close to him.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 7, 2017