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Kelvin Gastelum Tests Positive for Marijuana Metabolites, Pulled from UFC 212 Bout vs. Silva

A positive drug test at UFC Fight Night 106 last month has brought Kelvin Gastelum’s ascent at middleweight to a screeching halt.
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Kelvin Gastelum Tests Positive for Marijuana Metabolites, Pulled from UFC 212 Bout vs. Silva

A positive drug test at UFC Fight Night 106 last month has brought Kelvin Gastelum’s ascent at middleweight to a screeching halt.
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Kelvin Gastelum Tests Positive for Marijuana Metabolites, Pulled from UFC 212 Bout vs. Silva

A positive drug test at UFC Fight Night 106 last month has brought Kelvin Gastelum’s ascent at middleweight to a screeching halt.
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Kelvin Gastelum flagged by USADA for marijuana, pulled from Anderson Silva fight

Kelvin Gastelum has been pulled from his UFC 212 fight against Anderson Silva after potentially testing positive for marijuana metabolites in an in-competition drug test conducted by USADA, the UFC announced Thursday.

Gastelum, 25, was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation stemming from an in-competition drug test collected in conjunction with his March 11 victory over Vitor Belfort at UFC Fight Night 106, according to a UFC statement. Gastelum was flagged for Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as Carboxy-THC, “which is a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish.”

The legal decision limit for Carboxy-THC in-competition is 180 ng/mL, per WADA standards.

Gastelum (14-2) defeated Belfort via first-round TKO at UFC Fight Night 106 to propel himself into the top-10 of the UFC middleweight rankings.

As a result of the announcement, Gastelum has been placed on provisional suspension and forced to withdraw from his June 3 contest against Silva. Representatives from Silva’s team informed MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that the former UFC middleweight champion still wishes to remain on the card, however no new opponent has been found at the time of this writing.

A former winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17, Gastelum racked up a 6-2 UFC record as a top welterweight prospect before moving up to the middleweight division in late-2016 due to his continued struggles cutting down to the 170-pound limit. Gastelum has since won back-to-back fights in dominant fashion at 185 pounds, stopping both Tim Kennedy and Belfort inside the distance.

The UFC’s statement can be read below.

The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) informed Kelvin Gastelum of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation involving Carboxy-Tetrahydrocannabinol (“Carboxy-THC”) which is a metabolite of marijuana and/or hashish, above the decision limit of 180 ng/mL, stemming from an in-competition sample collected in conjunction with his recent bout in Fortaleza, Brazil on March 11, 2017.

USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Gastelum, as it relates to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and future UFC participation. Because the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) was the regulatory body overseeing the fight in Fortaleza and has licensing jurisdiction over Gastelum, USADA will work to ensure that the Commission has the necessary information to determine its proper judgment of Gastelum’s potential anti-doping violation. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.

As a result of the potential anti-doping violation against Gastelum, USADA has placed him under a provisional suspension. While the UFC Anti-Doping Policy affords Gastelum full and fair due process rights before any possible adjudication of his case, because of the proximity to Gastelum’s scheduled June 3rd bout against Anderson Silva, Gastelum is being removed from the card and a replacement is currently being sought.

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Misha Cirkunov picks Cormier to beat ‘Rumble,’ believes he’s two fights away from title contention

The UFC light heavyweight title will be up for grabs on April 8 when reigning champion Daniel Cormier seeks to defend his strap in a rematch against 205-pound powerhouse Anthony Johnson at UFC 210.

For the rest of the light heavyweight division, the rematch is one that has been a long time in the making. Cormier and Johnson previously met in May 2015, when Cormier survived an early onslaught before submitting Johnson with a third-round rear-naked choke. A second chapter between the two was initially slated for Dec. 2016, only to be delayed due to a nasty torn adductor tendon sustained by Cormier.

But despite those setbacks, the bout is finally looming, and one of the division’s most promising prospects, Misha Cirkunov — a man who could be challenging for that belt soon enough — believes that Cormier still has what it takes to retain gold.

“The first fight, I picked Daniel Cormier to win. But in a rematch, it’s going to be very, very interesting,” Cirkunov said recently on The MMA Hour. “Because we all saw what happened in the first fight, so I feel like there’s a lot of blueprints for Anthony Johnson to get better. If he gets better, there’s going to be a lot, a lot tougher for Daniel Cormier to win; whereas, Daniel Cormier is a beast himself, but I think that we’re not going to see a way more improved Daniel Cormier, just based on he’s been injured and he hasn’t competed.

“I think, if anything, this is the best chance for Anthony Johnson to become a belt-holder, because he’s already seen what he needs to do and he’s seen the gameplan, and hopefully he can stick to the gameplan and it’ll be a good night for Anthony Johnson. But again, Daniel Cormier showed how it could be done, right? So it’s going to be a very interesting fight. If I have to pick a winner, I’m going to go with, probably, still Daniel Cormier just based on wrestling, but it’s going to be a closer fight this time.”

While Cirkunov may still fall a few notches below Cormier and Johnson on the UFC’s official media-generated rankings, his ferocious success thus far inside the Octagon has caught the eye of Johnson, in particular. Earlier this year, “Rumble” singled Cirkunov out as “the one guy” that had his attention aside from Cormier, calling Cirkunov a “gangster” and saying of the 30-year-old prospect, “he’s definitely somebody you’ve got to watch out for.”

For Cirkunov, it was simply an honor to hear such high praise coming from one of the division’s best.

“I’m very, very thankful,” Cirkunov said. “It’s amazing to get recognition from a really high-level fighter. He’s one of the most feared guys in the division, in all of MMA, period. He knocks people out and he’s just, really, a very scary fighter. And to get recognition from him, it means a lot to me. A lot.”

It’s no secret that Cirkunov is widely considered to be one of the best up-and-comers in a 205-pound class otherwise bereft of viable prospects, but all of the praise in the world will mean little if Cirkunov fails to fulfill on the vast promise he has already shown with his blistering 4-0 UFC run.

With a new UFC contract in tow, Cirkunov hopes to continue that climb up the rankings on May 28 at UFC Fight Night 109 when he takes on No. 8 ranked Volkan Oezdemir, a fellow member of the new guard at light heavyweight who scored an upset win over Ovince Saint Preux in his UFC debut.

“I was a little bit surprised (to be fighting Oezdemir), considering how the rankings play out and all of that,” Cirkunov admitted. “Just, I’ve been out of the criteria for a time. Obviously I’ve seen his great performance against OSP. OSP is a super tough challenger, he went to a decision with Jon Jones. It just shows the level where Volkan is at. He’s definitely a tough competitor. So, I kinda knew he would be in the mix, he would be in there. And maybe I could say, ‘maybe he doesn’t deserve it, I already have four fights in the UFC and he has one,’ but he has a great fight himself, he’s a ranked guy, and he’s in the mix. And the reality is, right now, all the other guys are kinda booked.

“He’s a tough guy and he makes sense, and the winner of that, I guarantee you, is the real deal in my opinion, could be top-five no problem. So we’ll see what happens.”

A win over Oezdemir would potentially put Cirkunov in position to land a big-time fight against one of the top names in the division. Cirkunov said at that point, he figures he will be, at most, one or two fights away from title contention — and he already has an idea of who he would like to challenge for that next step: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the former UFC and Pride FC champion who has won three straight fights.

“I’m pretty sure he was asked if he wants to fight me and the other fight happened (against Gian Villante), so I don’t know if he wants to fight me,” Cirkunov said of Rua. “I’m sure in the future we can work something out. I mean, I hope we’ll work something out in the future, because for me, personally, I would love to fight somebody like that just so that I can wrap my name against a legend, a true pioneer, a true Hall of Famer, Pride champion and UFC champion.

“A lot of people know who he is and a lot of people would tune in to see him fight, so I would love that all of those people would get to know who Misha Cirkunov is as well. I think I’ve earned it and I’ve been fighting for a long time. We’ll see what happens.”

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Misha Cirkunov picks Cormier to beat ‘Rumble,’ believes he’s two fights away from title contention

The UFC light heavyweight title will be up for grabs on April 8 when reigning champion Daniel Cormier seeks to defend his strap in a rematch against 205-pound powerhouse Anthony Johnson at UFC 210.

For the rest of the light heavyweight division, the rematch is one that has been a long time in the making. Cormier and Johnson previously met in May 2015, when Cormier survived an early onslaught before submitting Johnson with a third-round rear-naked choke. A second chapter between the two was initially slated for Dec. 2016, only to be delayed due to a nasty torn adductor tendon sustained by Cormier.

But despite those setbacks, the bout is finally looming, and one of the division’s most promising prospects, Misha Cirkunov — a man who could be challenging for that belt soon enough — believes that Cormier still has what it takes to retain gold.

“The first fight, I picked Daniel Cormier to win. But in a rematch, it’s going to be very, very interesting,” Cirkunov said recently on The MMA Hour. “Because we all saw what happened in the first fight, so I feel like there’s a lot of blueprints for Anthony Johnson to get better. If he gets better, there’s going to be a lot, a lot tougher for Daniel Cormier to win; whereas, Daniel Cormier is a beast himself, but I think that we’re not going to see a way more improved Daniel Cormier, just based on he’s been injured and he hasn’t competed.

“I think, if anything, this is the best chance for Anthony Johnson to become a belt-holder, because he’s already seen what he needs to do and he’s seen the gameplan, and hopefully he can stick to the gameplan and it’ll be a good night for Anthony Johnson. But again, Daniel Cormier showed how it could be done, right? So it’s going to be a very interesting fight. If I have to pick a winner, I’m going to go with, probably, still Daniel Cormier just based on wrestling, but it’s going to be a closer fight this time.”

While Cirkunov may still fall a few notches below Cormier and Johnson on the UFC’s official media-generated rankings, his ferocious success thus far inside the Octagon has caught the eye of Johnson, in particular. Earlier this year, “Rumble” singled Cirkunov out as “the one guy” that had his attention aside from Cormier, calling Cirkunov a “gangster” and saying of the 30-year-old prospect, “he’s definitely somebody you’ve got to watch out for.”

For Cirkunov, it was simply an honor to hear such high praise coming from one of the division’s best.

“I’m very, very thankful,” Cirkunov said. “It’s amazing to get recognition from a really high-level fighter. He’s one of the most feared guys in the division, in all of MMA, period. He knocks people out and he’s just, really, a very scary fighter. And to get recognition from him, it means a lot to me. A lot.”

It’s no secret that Cirkunov is widely considered to be one of the best up-and-comers in a 205-pound class otherwise bereft of viable prospects, but all of the praise in the world will mean little if Cirkunov fails to fulfill on the vast promise he has already shown with his blistering 4-0 UFC run.

With a new UFC contract in tow, Cirkunov hopes to continue that climb up the rankings on May 28 at UFC Fight Night 109 when he takes on No. 8 ranked Volkan Oezdemir, a fellow member of the new guard at light heavyweight who scored an upset win over Ovince Saint Preux in his UFC debut.

“I was a little bit surprised (to be fighting Oezdemir), considering how the rankings play out and all of that,” Cirkunov admitted. “Just, I’ve been out of the criteria for a time. Obviously I’ve seen his great performance against OSP. OSP is a super tough challenger, he went to a decision with Jon Jones. It just shows the level where Volkan is at. He’s definitely a tough competitor. So, I kinda knew he would be in the mix, he would be in there. And maybe I could say, ‘maybe he doesn’t deserve it, I already have four fights in the UFC and he has one,’ but he has a great fight himself, he’s a ranked guy, and he’s in the mix. And the reality is, right now, all the other guys are kinda booked.

“He’s a tough guy and he makes sense, and the winner of that, I guarantee you, is the real deal in my opinion, could be top-five no problem. So we’ll see what happens.”

A win over Oezdemir would potentially put Cirkunov in position to land a big-time fight against one of the top names in the division. Cirkunov said at that point, he figures he will be, at most, one or two fights away from title contention — and he already has an idea of who he would like to challenge for that next step: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, the former UFC and Pride FC champion who has won three straight fights.

“I’m pretty sure he was asked if he wants to fight me and the other fight happened (against Gian Villante), so I don’t know if he wants to fight me,” Cirkunov said of Rua. “I’m sure in the future we can work something out. I mean, I hope we’ll work something out in the future, because for me, personally, I would love to fight somebody like that just so that I can wrap my name against a legend, a true pioneer, a true Hall of Famer, Pride champion and UFC champion.

“A lot of people know who he is and a lot of people would tune in to see him fight, so I would love that all of those people would get to know who Misha Cirkunov is as well. I think I’ve earned it and I’ve been fighting for a long time. We’ll see what happens.”

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Lorenz Larkin says ‘respect’ was big driving factor in move from UFC to Bellator

Bellator MMA bolstered its 170-pound ranks in a major way this past weekend with the signing of top-10 welterweight Lorenz Larkin.

The 30-year-old Riverside native has been stuck on sidelines since completing the final fight of his UFC deal last August with a stunning first-round knockout over Neil Magny at UFC 202, and although his jaunt through free agency took far longer than even he expected, Larkin admitted Monday that he was not shocked to ultimately land outside the UFC.

“I’m not that surprised,” Larkin said on The MMA Hour. “It’s been a long little journey to do the whole free agency thing, and I think the more and more the time went by, the more and more I kinda knew that I was probably going to move on to another place.

“I was hoping, at the most, (it would take) two months and then I would be able to figure out my future, but I guess it all happens for a reason. I made the right decision. I’m content with myself mentally about everything and I feel good about it. I didn’t feel like I just did something because I had to. I felt like I had options and it went good.”

After struggling early in his UFC run, Larkin (18-5, 1 NC) turned his prospects around in early 2015 with a drop down to the welterweight division. “The Monsoon” has since put together a sizzling 4-1 record in the land of 170 pounds, including a pair of massive victories over the UFC’s current No. 5 and No. 6 ranked welterweights, Jorge Masvidal and Magny. That résumé, along with a fan-friendly striking style, gave Larkin good enough leverage to test out his opportunities on the open market, and ultimately he indicated that the UFC’s offer just didn’t stack up to the rest.

“I had a deal on the table (from the UFC), and it just didn’t feel right,” Larkin said. “My whole reasoning for testing free agency was to see what I was worth and get somebody behind me. I want to feel like an asset to a promotion, and I want to feel like the promotion wants to really drive me and really use me. I’ve made this point a lot of times that I’m ready to work. Anything you can use me for, let me know. I’m here. And it just wasn’t happening for me (in the UFC), so I don’t know if it was just the timing or, just, there was no interest in that. But that’s a big thing that I was focused on.”

Larkin voiced similar frustrations with the UFC last year ahead of his UFC 202 fight against Magny, expressing dissatisfaction with receiving a promotional push that he believed to be less than fair from the Zuffa offices. Then, stuck in contract limbo, Larkin voiced even further frustrations last December in an interview on The MMA Hour, stating that he was disappointed with the long delay between his final fight and the UFC’s contract negotiations.

Larkin elaborated somewhat on that point on Monday, claiming that it was only recently — almost a half-year since the Magny fight — that the UFC submitted an official offer.

“I didn’t even get an offer from [the UFC] until maybe two-and-a-half weeks ago, something like that, maybe a little bit more,” Larkin said.

“I felt like, personally, it was just kinda a take it or leave it (type of offer) and that’s it. To me, there was no welcoming. It was just like, it is what it is; if not, then okay. And that’s what I felt like. I’m not in this sport just to take whatever. I feel like I’ve fought my way to where I’m at now and it’s just one of those things where it can’t be like that. I can’t just be one superpower and that’s it. And luckily I’m in this sport at a time where it’s starting to not be like that anymore.

“I was just able to talk to (Bellator president) Scott (Coker), me and him on the phone, and we worked out something within, I don’t know, 40 minutes, man,” Larkin added.

In addition to the UFC, Larkin said he also fielded offers from Russian promotion ACB and the Japan-based RIZIN FF before ultimately settling on terms with Bellator.

Larkin indicated that his new contract represented a monetary raise from his old UFC deal, and after getting his start with Coker and current Bellator matchmaker Rich Chou under the Strikeforce banner, Larkin was pleased to be back alongside the same crew that first targeted him as a prospect to watch back in 2011.

“I’m happy, man,” Larkin said. “Everything has just been welcoming. With me, it’s more about the respect, type of thing. Just a big thing for me — and it’s not really a big deal, but it is for me, for me and who I am — when [Bellator] released the story (of my signing), they wanted to make it a big deal that the Riverside press released it first. And that just says a lot. It shows that they’re worried about what I care about, and that was a big thing for me. I really respected that and it really meant a lot, even though it’s something small. But just for them to do that, just from the get-go, it says a lot to me.

“Don’t get me wrong, every fighter should say a big part of this is about the money, because that’s what we fight for,” Larkin continued. “But a lot of it, for me, is respect too, and it’s the understanding that a promotion wants me there. I don’t want to just be among a bunch of people who, they just, who cares about them. I’d rather fight for somebody who really wants me there and who really is excited to see what we can do together.”

Larkin now joins a fast-growing Bellator welterweight division that already includes plenty of top-level talent, from Bellator usuals Paul Daley, Andrey Koreshkov, Michael Page, Brennan Ward, and champion Douglas Lima, to fellow recent free agent signing Rory MacDonald. Larkin said he is unsure who and when he will fight first, but after already sitting out seven months since he defeated Magny, he simply wants to get back into action as quickly as possible.

“I don’t know, to be honest with you, who I was thinking about fighting for the debut,” Larkin said. “I know that the top guys that in 170 that are making some noise are MVP, they have Daley, they’ve got Rory, Lima, he’s the champion, and Brennan Ward. So, I know there’s some tough guys in there, but to tell you the truth, man, I really don’t care who they put me against. I just want to fight, man, and just get this whole journey started.”

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UFC Fight Night 107 results: Biggest winners, loser from ‘Manuwa vs. Anderson’ last night in London

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action last night (Sat., March 18, 2017) for UFC Fight Night 107: “Manuwa vs. Anderson,” which took place inside O2 Arena in London, England live on UFC Fight Pass.

The promotion’s latest mixed martial arts (MMA) card was headlined a Light Heavyweight showdown which saw Jimi Manuwa absolutely obliterate Corey Anderson with a one-hitter quitter in the very first round (see it again here). In the co-main event, Gunnar Nelson proved to the world why he is one of the best submission specialists in the world, tying up Alan Jouban in an air-tight guillotine choke to earn the second round victory (full video highlights here).

Biggest winner: Jimi Manuwa

“Posterboy” claimed he has the knockout power to layout former 205-pound champion Jon Jones. While that remains to be seen, seeing as how “Bones” has yet to suffer a defeat inside the Octagon and hasn’t come close to getting put to sleep, Manuwa’s knockout power was in full effect last night in London, as he flattened Anderson with a clean left hook which put his foe out for the count. With two straight devastating knockouts in his back pocket, Manuwa is starting to remind the MMA world just why there was a lot of excitement when he initially signed with the promotion back in 2012. A few more big wins like this and we could be seeing Jimi making some championship fight noise soon.

Runner (s) Up: Arnold Allen and Gunnar Nelson

Be honest, Allen was exactly on everyone’s radar, but after defeating Makwan Amirkhani, ho was starting to develop quite a following, the 23 year-old combatant will start getting a few more follows and eyes for his next bout. “Almighty” has quietly won his first three contests inside the Octagon, and with a win over a decent name, Allen can set himself up for bigger and better challenges moving forward.

Gunnar Nelson is something special once the fight hits the ground. The jiu-jitsu ace once again showed off his world renowned submission skills by forcing Alan Jouban to tap to his guillotine choke. The win gives Gunnar his second straight, and hopefully sets him up for a higher-ranked opponent next. Nelson has the qualities to be a title contender down the road, but it seems he can never string together enough big wins before suffering a defeat. Maybe this big win will be a big motivator moving forward.

Biggest Loser: Brad Pickett

What was supposed to be “One Punch’s” successful swan song was everything but, as Pickett was knocked out my Marlon Vera in the third and final round of their bout via a head kick and punches. Brad was hoping to leave the fight game with a win and some “dignity,” instead, he leaves with a three fight losing streak. Still, “One Punch” has always been a fan favorite, and hopefully fight fans will remember him as the slugger who was never afraid to put it on the line, throw caution to the wind and go toe-to-toe for our viewing pleasure.

For complete UFC Fight Night 107 results and coverage click here.

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Nicolas Dalby announces his release from UFC

Nicolas Dalby’s UFC run has come to an end.

The Danish welterweight announced on Wednesday that he has been cut from the UFC following an up-and-down 1-2-1 run within the promotion.

Dalby (14-2-1) entered the UFC as an undefeated 13-0 prospect in May 2015 and promptly picked up a split decision victory over Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos. But that performance would ultimately serve as his lone UFC win.

The 32-year-old followed up by fighting to a majority draw against Darren Till in a back-and-forth bout that won ‘Fight of the Night’ honors at UFC Fight Night 76. Dalby then lost back-to-back contests for the first time in his career, suffering unanimous decision losses to Zak Cummings and Peter Sobotta, the most recent of which came last September at UFC Fight Night 93.

In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Dalby vowed to fight on and come back “stronger and more dangerous than ever.” That post can be seen below.

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UFC Lightweight James Krause Shows Off Nasty Scar on Leg From Staph Infection

James Krause hasn’t been in the Octagon since February 2016, but there’s a good reason for his absence.
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