It appears Robert Drysdale won't be fighting in the Octagon anytime soon.
Drysdale, a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) black belt and winner of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Submission Wrestling World Championship, was scheduled to make his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut against fellow light heavyweight Cody Donovan at next month's UFC 167 event.
However, according to the head of the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) Kieth Kizar, the 32-year old BJJ ace has failed an out of competition performance enhancing drug test and will not be granted a license to compete at the Nov. 16 event.
UFC.com with the official announcement:
Gian Villante, a training partner of UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, will take on Cody Donovan at UFC 167 on November 16. Villante got the call to take the fight on short notice after Robert Drysdale, Donovan's original opponent, learned that the Nevada Athletic Commission had concerns about the results of his pre-fight drug test and granting him a license to compete at the November 16 event.
Drysdale recently submitted an application for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) that would allow him to undergo testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), but his request was denied, according to Kizar.
Given UFC President Dana White's repeated claims that his company's roster is "too full," Drysdale's test failure could not have come at more inopportune time. Causing headaches for the company before you even step foot inside the Octagon isn't the best way to ensure your future employment in UFC.
While the loss of Drysdale may not make a difference in the success of UFC 167, cases like this drive home how much the promotion stands to lose if a main event fighter were to fail a PED screening -- such as the enhanced, third party screening advocated by UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre -- just weeks before a fight.
This marks the second time Drysdale's UFC debut has been cancelled. He was originally set to face Ednaldo However, Drysdale was forced to bow out of that fight due to a staph infection.on Aug. 3, 2013 at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
His loss is Villante's gain.