Ben Rothwell has been suspended by the UFC for nine months. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has suspended Ben Rothwell for nine months after the fighter’s post-fight drug test was flagged for elevated testosterone at UFC 164, according to a statement from the heavyweight.
Rothwell announced his suspension on Thursday afternoon in a statement released to Sherdog.com through his manager, Monte Cox. The heavyweight was granted a testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) exemption by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services prior to his knockout win over Brandon Vera at the Aug. 31 event, which took place at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Rothwell’s suspension was first reported by MMAJunkie.com, and the UFC subsequently confirmed the development with Sherdog on Thursday evening.
“Following my victory at UFC 164 I was informed I tested for an elevated level of testosterone,” Rothwell wrote. “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.”
Rothwell, 31, rose to prominence in the defunct International Fight League and signed with the UFC in 2009, alternating wins with losses in his six Octagon outings. Prior to his knockout of Vera this summer, “Big Ben” kicked off 2013 with a submission defeat, tapping to a second-round guillotine choke courtesy of Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC on FX 7.