Kelvin Gastelum Receives 9-Month Suspension for Second Positive Marijuana Test

By Tristen Critchfield May 11, 2020


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Kelvin Gastelum has accepted a nine-month suspension after testing positive for marijuana in his relation to his bout with Darren Till at UFC 244 this past November.

USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner, announced that Gastelum tested positive for marijuana metabolites in an in-competition sample collected on Nov. 3, 2019. Gastelum received a five-month reduction in his sanction after the completion of a drug treatment program.

Gastelum’s suspension began on the date of his positive test, meaning that he will be eligible to return to active competition in August. “The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner previously tested positive for marijuana metabolites in relation to his victory over Vitor Belfort on March 11, 2017. While Gastelum only received a six-month sanction from USADA for that violation, his win was overturned to a no contest by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA).

Gastelum dropped a split-decision to Till in the aforementioned bout at UFC 244. That defeat came on the heels of Sherdog.com's 2019 “Fight of the Year,” where Gastelum fell to Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision in an enthralling bout for the interim middleweight championship at UFC 236.

USADA’s full statement regarding Gastelum is as follows:

USADA announced today that Kelvin Gastelum, of Huntington Beach, Calif., has accepted a nine-month sanction for his second violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy (UFC APD) and received a five-month reduction to his sanction following the successful completion of a drug treatment program.

Gastelum, 28, tested positive for 11-nor-9-carboxy-tetrahydrocannabinol (Carboxy-THC) over the Decision Limit of 180 ng/mL, a urinary metabolite of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis, marijuana, and/or hashish as the result of a sample collected in-competition at UFC 244 New York, New York on November 3, 2019. Cannabis, marijuana, and hashish are Specified Substances in the class of Cannabinoids and prohibited in-competition under the UFC Prohibited List.

Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, Cannabinoids are considered Substances of Abuse. If an athlete can establish that the Substance of Abuse was not used to enhance his or her performance in a bout, the athlete is eligible for a reduction to his or her period of ineligibility upon the full and satisfactory completion of an approved rehabilitation program. Gastelum also tested positive for Carboxy-THC in 2017 and accepted the resulting sanction.

Gastelum’s nine-month period of ineligibility began on November 3, 2019, the date his positive sample was collected. Based on Gastelum’s successful completion of a drug treatment program, his period of ineligibility was reduced by five months.


In addition, Gastelum’s positive test falls under the jurisdiction of the New York State Athletic Commission, which is handling the case in accordance with its rules.

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