USADA has issued another doping violation, and it's a pretty big one. Heavyweight Ben Rothwell is facing a serious suspension following a failed drug test administered on February 6th. Unless he's got a really good excuse lined up, this is probably going to take him out of his scheduled fight against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 211 in Dallas, Texas on May 13th.
As per the usual protocol, USADA did not reveal what Rothwell tested positive for, and unless Ben decides to share that information we won't know until the whole adjudication process goes down. This isn't the first time Rothwell has failed a drug test. Following his 2013 win over Brandon Vera at UFC 164, Rothwell tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. While the heavyweight was one of the many fighters using the Therapeutic Use Exemption loophole to legally use that testosterone, it was determined that he hadn't gone through the proper channels and was given a nine month suspension by the UFC.
This time, Rothwell faces a suspension of up to two years depending on what the substance he failed his test for was and the circumstances surrounding its use. In sharp contrast to previous commission-led drug testing and punishment, USADA has proven to be quite willing to listen to a fighter's extenuating circumstances, and has cut several athletes a break since the drug program with the UFC started in 2015.
We doubt though that the process will be fast enough to save his upcoming fight at UFC 211. Which is too bad, because the card was shaping up to be an important event for his heavyweight division.