Melendez responds to USADA suspension
USADA recently announced that former WEC and Strikeforce middleweight champion Gilbert Melendez was suspended for two years for an anti-doping violation. However, the test was administered on October 16, 2019, and he had apparently already been released. In an interview with Marc Raimondi for ESPN, Melendez said an arbitrator ruled the suspension applied only to the UFC, and that the UFC had no right to test him anyway.
"I'm an inactive fighter," said Melendez. "I was released from the UFC before this test was taken. I believe [USADA] has no jurisdiction over me. ... I'm a private citizen and it's no one's business what I'm putting into my body at that point."
"In USADA's release, I believe they failed to recognize that all the arbitrator awarded them was that I can't fight in the UFC for two years -- which I wasn't going to do anyway, because I was released."
The UFC reportedly made the decision to release the fighter in late September or early October, but failed to immediately inform either USADA or the fighter himself. Melendez received a letter backdated to October 12, 2019, from the UFC informing him of his release.
USADA argued that no one informed them of Melendez's release, and further, that if he knew he was released, he'd have refused the test.
Melendez says he feels like he won the arbitration, as the ruling only applies to the UFC, so he can fight for other promotions and work corners. The fighter says at present he's "retired and focused on recovering my body."
In sum, this USADA suspension is #1 bulls***.