UFC Heavyweight Walt Harris Benched Until 2027 Over Drug Test Failures

Walt Harris UFC
Walt Harris UFC Ottawa Weigh-In Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

The UFC’s new anti-doping program under the CSAD (Combat Sports Anti-Doping) kicked off this past January, after a very public split between the promotion and previous anti-doping administrator USADA.

On Thursday, the program and promotion announced the first long-term suspension of a UFC athlete since the change: Walt Harris, who has been suspended until 2027 after failing drug tests for multiple banned substances.

Per a press release, Harris has accepted a 48-month sanction for two separate violations of the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy.

“Harris first tested positive for drostanalone, its metabolite 3a-hydroxy-2a-methyl-5a-androstan-17-on, and testosterone of exogenous origin in samples collected on June 24, 2023 and July 12, 2023.  Harris was notified of the first adverse finding on July 11, 2023,” the statement provided by UFC officials reads in part.

“Subsequently, and after he was notified of the June 23, 2023 adverse finding, Harris provided urine and blood samples on August 6, 2023.  His urine sample was positive for the presence of anastrozole, a new prohibited substance that was not present in any of the previous samples, as well as drostanolone and its metabolite.”

Harris’ suspension is backdated to July 11th, 2023, when he was notified of the first finding. As Harris’ positive tests came last year, they initially came under the purview of USADA, with the CSAD handing out punishment as it took over the UFC program at the start of 2024. The heavyweight had been lined up to fight Josh Parisian when the initial test failure came; the bout was subsequently scrapped.

In 2019, Harris tested positive for LGD4033, a banned substance linked to a tainted supplement, and was suspended four months by the California State Athletic Commission.

“The Big Ticket” has lost his last three fights, and has not competed since June of 2021. In 2019, Harris’ stepdaughter Aniah Blanchard was murdered, leading to an extended layoff until his return in May of 2020.

Now 40, there’s a very strong likelihood that Walt Harris’ fighting days are over, given the length of his current suspension.