Editor's note: This article has been updated at 2:10 p.m. ET on 9/19/19 to reflect new information.
UFC veteran David Branch has been suspended two years by USADA after testing positive for the banned substance ipamorelin in an out-of-competition drug test on May 24.
Ipamorelin is in the category of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics and is known to stimulate production of human growth hormone. Branch’s two-year-ban is retroactive to July 26, 2019, so he will not be eligible to return to active competition until July 2021. Following his positive test, Branch was reportedly released from the UFC.
A former two-division champion in World Series of Fighting, Branch returned for a second stint with the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2017. The 37-year-old Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu product has gone 2-3 during that period and is coming off back-to-back losses where he was finished by Jared Cannonier and Jack Hermansson. His last Octagon appearance, a submission loss to Hermansson at UFC on ESPN 2, occurred on March 30.
The full USADA statement regarding Branch’s suspension is as follows:
USADA announced today that David Branch, of Montville, N.J., has received a two-year sanction for a violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for a prohibited substance.
Branch, 37, tested positive for ipamorelin as the result of a urine sample he provided out-of-competition on May 24, 2019. Ipamorelin is in the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.
Ipamorelin is a potent Growth Hormone Secretagogue that stimulates the brain to release human growth hormone and is used by athletes as a performance-enhancing drug. The use of prohibited peptides by athletes and consumers for performance or physique enhancement purposes (including recovery from injury) poses serious health risks, and these peptides are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human use or consumption.
Branch’s two-year period of ineligibility, the standard sanction for a non-Specified Substance under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, began on July 26, 2019, the date his provisional suspension was imposed.