UFC, Strikeforce Vet Gilbert Melendez Hit with Two Year Ban by USADA

Gilbert Melendez
Gilbert Melendez Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Now former-UFC fighter Gilbert Menedez has been handed a two-year suspension from competition by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

Melendez, 38, was last seen in action at UFC 239 in July 2019. Once a Strikeforce lightweight champion, who challenged for gold in the UFC, Melendez lost what was his final UFC bout that night opposite Arnold Allen. In November of last year, he was released by the promotion — but on Monday, another wrinkle emerged. Melendez, per a press release by USADA, tested positive for GHRP-6, and two metabolites thereof, GHRP-6(2-5)-OH and GHRP-6(2-6)-OH, last fall. The substance is banned at all times under the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy, which USADA oversees.

While Melendez (22-8) did not dispute the presence of the banned substance in a urine sample he provided on October 16, 2019, he did challenge USADA’s jurisdiction in the matter. That likely has a lot to do with him parting ways with the UFC, something that became public knowledge in November of last year. At the time, Melendez’s release was described as “mutual.” Mutual or not, an independent arbitrator rules that USADA did in fact have jurisdiction in the case. Despite Melendez exiting the promotion.

Melendez will now serve a two-year suspension backdated to November 1, 2019, the date his provisional suspension was handed down. He’ll be close to 40 by the time he’s eligible to return to competition.

Upon his arrival in the UFC in 2013, after Strikeforce had been gobbled up by the organization, Melendez was given an immediate shot against then-lightweight champ Benson Henderson. Losing a close split decision, he’d bounce back in a war against Diego Sanchez in his very next fight.

That classic was his last victory, as he’d suffer five straight losses culminating with the defeat to Allen last year.

GHRP-6, the substance Melendez tested positive for, is a growth hormone releasing peptide that can lead to decreased body fat, and increased muscle and stamina.