Today the UFC’s privately hired anti-doping partner USADA announced that Kelvin Gastelum accepted a suspension for his second violation of the anti doping policy.
Gastelum tested positive for THC above permissible in competition limits at UFC 244 which took place in New York. He accepted a nine-month period of ineligibility which 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.
New York has the independent right to penalize Gastelum. It is unknown what consequences the regulator is exploring.
In May of 2017, USADA announced that Gastelum had tested positive for cannabinoids and accepted a six-month suspension. That was reduced, based on Gastelum’s successful completion of a USADA approved drug awareness and management program, to three months.
Athletes that use cannabis medicinally should know that there is now precedent for a Therapeutic Use Exemption. Earlier this year UFC vet Elias Theodorou made history by becoming the first professional athlete to be granted a TUE for the in competition cannabis ban. Athletes with legitimate medical needs should explore this avene given the difficult to predict timeframe to discontinue use prior to competition to reduce measurable detection to acceptable levels.