Kelvin Gastelum has been riding high ever since he moved up to the middleweight division — literally. As reported by MMA Fighting, Gastelum was flagged for marijuana by USADA during in-competition testing. The test conducted was in connection with his last fight, a first-round knockout victory over soon-to-retire Vitor Belfort.
Gastelum’s test results came out positive for marijuana metabolites, a red flag on USADA’s radar.
Gastelum doesn’t have a history of failed drug tests, but he is known for missing weight quite often, particularly during his time in the welterweight division. Fans are already speculating that Gastelum’s marijuana habit may have contributed to his trouble with weight cutting.
Gastelum joins a shortlist of UFC fighters who have tested positive for marijuana; Matthew Riddle, a former TUF competitor, tested positive for marijuana twice, and was actually released for it by the UFC. Nick Diaz, once referred to as the “420 Fighter,” is known to maintain the habit both in and out of competition. His little brother, Nate Diaz, smoked a CBD vape pen after his bout with Conor McGregor, explaining that it “helped with pain” according to Bloody Elbow.
In February, UFC Fight Night 104 saw three different fighters get flagged for marijuana all on the same card, per MMA Fighting.
The consequences could be heavy. Per MMA Fighting, Gastelum has already been removed from his match-up against Anderson Silva, another legendary Brazilian. Gastelum called “The Spider” out by name, expressing his desire to dismantle yet another old school fighter.
On top of losing his upcoming shot at Silva, Gastelum could have his victory over Belfort overturned to a “no contest” bout, and could even be stripped of his bonus prize of $50,000 for Performance of the Night.
UFC commentator and resident pothead Joe Rogan has been vocal about marijuana usage both in and out of the sport, citing many benefits to athletes and non-competitors. Rogan has explained in the past that marijuana is commonly used among UFC fighters, per MMA Mania.
“That’s also the weird thing about martial arts. A tremendous amount of UFC fighters smoke pot. I mean, a massive amount where it’s a huge issue with them involving drug tests, you know, where they have to stop smoking weed for the last four weeks or so in order to pass drug tests. More UFC fighters smoke pot than don’t smoke pot.”
Despite such a heavy usage of marijuana throughout the UFC, USADA maintains its protocol and continues to test for recreational drugs. Fighters who are caught with marijuana in their system tend to face suspensions as well as fines.
Longtime UFC fans have been critical of the organization’s harsh treatment of marijuana users. The NSAC once requested a lifetime ban, as reported by the Huffington Post, on Nick Diaz because they felt “disrespected” by the young fighter. Fans have rallied in support of Diaz every time he’s been flagged, and have kept his fines and suspensions closer to the minimums.
Regardless of what happens with Gastelum’s dirty results, he shouldn’t worry a whole lot. Being young and at the top of his game in the middleweight division, even a one-year suspension wouldn’t set him back too much. As one of the youngest competitors in the UFC, Gastelum has probably gained some fans, and headlines, for testing positive for marijuana.
[Featured Image by Steve Marcus/Getty Images]