Gilbert Melendez Receives 2-Year USADA Suspension for Anti-Doping Violation

By: Tristen Critchfield
Jul 27, 2020


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Former UFC fighter Gilbert Melendez has received a two-year suspension from USADA after testing positive for a banned substance in an out-of-competition sample collected on Oct. 16.

Melendez tested positive for GHRP-6 and its metabolites GHRP-6(2-5)-OH and GHRP-6(2-6)-OH, which is in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics. While Melendez did not dispute the presence of a banned substance in his system, he did contest USADA’s jurisdiction to conduct the test. However, an independent arbitrator ruled that USADA “did have jurisdiction to both conduct the test and allege an anti-doping policy violation in the event of a positive sample.”

Melendez’s two-year sanction began on Nov. 1, meaning that he will not be eligible to compete until November 2021. The former Strikeforce champion was released from the UFC in November, but most athletic commissions in the United States will honor the punishments imposed by USADA.

“El Nino” went just 1-6 in the Las Vegas-based promotion, earning his lone victory against Diego Sanchez at UFC 166 in October 2013. He last competed at UFC 239, where he dropped a three-round verdict to Arnold Allen in July 2019.

The USADA statement regarding Melendez is as follows:

USADA announced today that an independent arbitrator has rendered a decision in the case of UFC® athlete Gilbert Melendez, of Brisbane, Calif., and determined that Melendez should receive a two-year period of ineligibility for his anti-doping policy violation, precluding him from competing in any UFC bouts. This decision comes after the facts of the case were presented and argued.

Melendez, 38, tested positive for GHRP-6 and its metabolites GHRP-6(2-5)-OH and GHRP-6(2-6)-OH as the result of a urine sample collected out-of-competition on October 16, 2019. GHRP-6 is a non-Specified Substance in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics, and is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.

While Melendez did not contest the presence of GHRP-6 and its metabolites in his sample nor identify a source of the prohibited peptide, he did challenge USADA’s jurisdiction to conduct the test. The arbitrator concluded that USADA did have jurisdiction to both conduct the test and allege an anti-doping policy violation in the event of a positive sample, as was the case. Melendez’s two-year period of ineligibility began on November 1, 2019, the date his provisional suspension was imposed.


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