The UFC middleweight contender was suspended by the Brazilian MMA Sports Court for 90 days after testing positive for marijuana in a sample collected in the hours leading up to his main event bout against Vitor Belfort on March 11 in Fortaleza, Brazil. Subsequently, Gastelum‘s highlight reel finish over Belfort was converted into a no-contest (NC). He was also docked 20% of his fight purse, which he asserts was almost $100,000 (approx. £77,200).
On top of all that, the UFC was forced to pull Gastelum from the most substantial opportunity of the 25-year-old’s promising career: an upcoming matchup with MMA legend and longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on June 3. That news was particularly upsetting to Gastelum.
“I was devastated. I was devastated, and I still am devastated because it was a huge opportunity that I missed. I was dumbfounded, I was in shock, I was so devastated, that’s the only word I can think of and I’m still thinking about it.”
As it happens, Gastelum has a medical marijuana license in his home state of California. He says he has always smoked cannabis between fights and has never had issues with drug tests. This, of course, by making sure he stops smoking in time for his next bout.
“Well, I always stop consuming a few weeks before the fight,” Gastelum stated. “I always have in all my fights, and I didn’t do anything different, so you know, I went into the fight thinking nothing was wrong. I’ve found that it helps with pain and really just pain and sleeping. We train so much, I pretty much hurt myself every day, I’m in pain pretty much every day, so it’s good to relax the muscles a little bit.”
“It was a big headache going back and forth with the Brazilian commission. And on top of what was already taken from me, they wanted to fine me 20% on top of that, and I just think it was really unfair and I was really angry towards the commission. I want to make that clear, because I hope my Brazilian fans don’t get mad, I was mad at the commission, it’s been a headache dealing with the commission and trying to fight this battle. That’s why I would never fight in Brazil.”
“I hope I can get past this and just learn from it, it’s been a hard few weeks. Personally, I’ve had a few problems with my family, I’ve had problems with the commission, my employer, I’ve been talking to Dana White and he’s pissed as well, so it’s caused me a lot of headaches and I’m just ready to move past it.”
Thankfully for Gastelum, his suspension is retroactive to UFC Fight Night 106‘s drug test, meaning that he will be eligible to fight again in June. He apparently already has another fight booked (according to Gastelum, at least), but much to his dismay, it is not against ‘The Spider’.
“It’s a shame that I’m not allowed to fight [Silva], but you know, I already resolved the issue,” Gastelum explained. “Hopefully this is something I learn from and it’s something that we grow from, but you know, I just don’t know what they base their THC level off of. This is just a learning experience, I’m going to move on, I’m going to learn from it and — I’m not going to say who or when — but I already got something lined up and I’m just waiting to announce it.”
What are your thoughts on this situation? Who is the mystery fighter Gastelum is referring to? Let us know what you think in the comments.