Report: Ben Rothwell suspended nine months by UFC (not commission) for elevated testosterone in Brandon Vera win at UFC 164

Kevin C. Cox

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) officials have suspended Ben Rothwell for nine months after his UFC 164 post-fight drug test revealed "Big Ben" had elevated testosterone levels.

Brandon Vera once again finds himself entangled in an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) substance abuse issue.

Earlier today (Oct. 3, 2013) it was revealed that Ben Rothwell -- the man who knocked out "The Truth" at UFC 164 last month in Milwaukee, Wisconsin -- was suspended by world's leading mixed marital arts (MMA) promotion after it detected his testosterone levels were elevated beyond an acceptable limit.

"Big Ben" informed MMAJunkie.com that UFC, not Wisconsin Athletic Commission (WSAC), suspended him nine months for the infraction. One that puzzles Rothwell, who claims he followed all proper testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) exemption protocols prior to the Heavyweight bout

But, apparently, the levels were too high for UFC officials, who decided to bench him until June 1, 2014, even though WSAC initially let him off with a warning.

Rothwell explains:

"Following my victory at UFC 164 I was informed I tested for an elevated level of testosterone. This came as a shock because I had applied for and was granted a TRT exemption and was doing so under the supervision of a doctor. I was tested every week for eight weeks prior to the fight and was well under the acceptable level each time. I had applied for TRT after an endocrinologist and Wisconsin athletic doctors diagnosed me with hypogonadism. They felt it was caused by a car crash in 1999 that left me with severe head trauma and in a coma. Doctors told me TRT was something that could stop the hypogonadism from degrading my body. After getting the news of the elevated test, I spoke with the Wisconsin Athletic Commission and they decided to give me an administrative warning. I was told they didn't think I tried to cheat, but felt some punishment was necessary. I have now been informed the UFC has elected to suspend me for nine months. I am not going to fight the suspension as I feel ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure I stay under the acceptable limit. I am deeply sorry for this mistake and apologize to my fans, family and friends."

In a follow up, Yahoo!Sports! spoke with UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Marc Ratner, who traditionally handles athletic commission-related responsibilities whenever the promotion stages international events or in states that don't have standard regulatory teeth.

He explains:

"The state had never given out a TUE before and there was nothing in their administrative laws and statutes that allowed them to do more than write him a letter. We always try to do the right thing everywhere. If he had had this result in Nevada, he'd have gotten a nine-month suspension, so we felt that was the appropriate thing to do in this case, to suspend him for nine months."

So what does this mean for Vera?

Reportedly, the commission does not have established authority to overturn the result to a "No Contest," which would have helped Vera avoid a two-fight losing streak -- he dropped his previous bout to Mauricio Rua at UFC on Fox 4 last year.

It would have marked the second time a Vera a loss would have been overturned.

In 2011, "The Truth" was defeated by Thiago Silva at UFC 125; however, the Brazilian striker was caught trying to cheat his post-fight drug test by using an adulterant to alter his urine because he was knowingly taking a banned substance to help alleviate his ongoing back problems. The result was overturned to a "No Contest" and Vera was invited to compete again inside the Octagon.

That apparently is not the case this time around.

Even though Dana White and Co. were clearly serious about cracking down on TRT.

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