We may have seen the last of former Bellator MMA Middleweight champion, Alexander Shlemenko, fighting in North America.
Shlemenko's spectacular spinning backfist knockout of Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 133 back in February (watch it here) led him to beg the promotion for a chance to regain the 185-pound title he dropped to Brandon Halsey via rear-naked choke at Bellator 126 in Sept. 2014.
"Scott Coker, please, I want my belt back. I made a mistake!"
The real mistake Shlemenko made, however, was using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) to achieve his victory inside Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif., on Feb. 13, 2015. His urine sample was flagged for both the steroid oxandrolone and oxandrolone metabolites, which sent his testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) skyrocketing to a staggering 50-1 ratio.
The maximum allowed by California State Athletic Commission (CSAC), which oversaw and sanctioned the event, is 4-1.
By a unanimous vote (7-0) on June 23, 2015, CSAC voted to overturn his victory over Manhoef (now officially a "No Contest"), fine Shlemenko $10,000 for his "mistake" and ban him from mixed martial arts (MMA) competition for three years.
Because of commission reciprocity, it's unlikely that Shlemenko will be sanctioned to fight anywhere in the United States before 2018.
Shlemenko's attorney, Howard Jacobs, had argued for leniency, saying the sample wasn't split into "A" and "B" groups per agreed upon protocol, but CSAC disagreed and said the lack of a "B" sample didn't invalidate the "A" sample result.
Predictably, Shlemenko was appalled to be accused of cheating:
"I am not guilty of taking any performance enhancing drugs, and because of these accusations, I have suffered immeasurable damage to my career and my reputation."
Shlemenko, 31, fails to consider that Bellator MMA's reputation suffered as well thanks to a main event fighter being caught cheating. One has to suspect the Red Devil-trained fighter will shrug it off, though, and go back to fighting in Mother Russia.
His options, for now, are limited.
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