It could be the end of the road for David Branch, as the UFC middleweight, about to turn 38 years old, has been hit with a two-year suspension by USADA.
David Branch is the second UFC fighter this week to be hit with a two-year ban from mixed martial arts. Branch, a former World Series of Fighting middleweight and light heavyweight champion, tested positive for ipamorelin, a growth hormone, in an out-of-competition drug test administered by USADA on May 24, 2019.
The substance is banned at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, administered by USADA (the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency), which announced the news via press release.
Per USADA’s press release,
“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.”
It’s the latest in a number of lengthy bans for UFC athletes. Sarah Frota was hit with a two-year suspension earlier this week, while one week prior, Dmitrii Smoliakov was hit with the same fate. Last month, longtime UFC fighter C.B. Dollaway was also handed a two-year ban.
For Branch (22–6), who turns 38 later this month, the suspension is especially problematic. Branch’s ban is backdated to July 26, 2019, the date of his provisional suspension. He’ll be looking at 40 head-on when he returns, and may not have much time left in the sport.
Update: Branch has subsequently been released from his UFC contract. The development was first reported by Mike Russell of Real Fight Stories.