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Former UFC lightweight Gilbert Melendez draws two-year suspension following positive USADA drug test

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UFC 239: Melendez v Allen Photo by Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight title contender Gilbert Melendez, who wore the 155-pound strap under the Bellator MMA banner, has drawn a two-year disciplinary suspension from United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Melendez, 38, tested positive for Growth hormone-releasing peptide 6 (GHRP-6) and its metabolites GHRP-6(2-5)-OH and GHRP-6(2-6)-OH following an out-of-competition drug test last October. Since “El Nino” popped prior to his UFC release the following month, his “jurisdiction” argument was overruled.

“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,” USADA wrote in Monday’s press release. “Melendez’s two-year period of ineligibility began on November 1, 2019, the date his provisional suspension was imposed.”

This is the second time Melendez (22-8) tested positive for banned substances. The longtime “Skrap Pack” standout was also sat in summer 2015 after flunking his UFC 188 drug test. “El Nino” has dropped five straight and managed just one victory under the UFC banner, a 2013 “Fight of the Night” against Diego Sanchez in Houston.

Most stateside commissions are likely to honor the USADA ruling, but Melendez can very easily circumvent those restrictions by competing overseas, or by trying something like bare-knuckle boxing or some other discipline outside mixed martial arts (MMA).