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Ben Rothwell suspended nine months by UFC for elevated testosterone levels following UFC 164 victory

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

UFC heavyweight Ben Rothwell may have defeated Brandon Vera at UFC 164 in August by TKO, but his victory isn't now without a blemish.

UFC has suspended Rothwell nine months following word via written letter from the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services that while Rothwell had a Therapuetic Use Exemption (TUE) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), the amount of testosterone was beyond allotted levels. MMA Junkie was the first to report the news.

According to a statement provided to Yahoo! News, UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner indicated the UFC chose nine months as a suspension because Wisconsin has no regulatory authority to suspend Rothwell. While they provided the UFC a letter indicating Rothwell had committed the infraction, any punitive action had to be taken by the UFC. In handing out a punishment, Ratner says they followed what would've been the typical punishment for that infraction in Nevada. "We always try to do the right thing everywhere. If he had had this result in Nevada, he'd have gotten a nine-month suspension, so we felt that was the appropriate thing to do in this case, to suspend him for nine months," he said.

In addition, because Wisconsin has no laws regulating punishment of TRT infringements, the bout cannot be overturned by the commission. Rothwell's win over Vera will stand as a consequence.

The UFC has not issued an official public statement at the time of this writing. Calls to Rothwell's manager Monte Cox were also not returned to MMA Fighting.

This is the second time Vera has faced an opponent and lost to them where it was subsequently discovered they were either using a performance enhancing drug (PED) or improperly taking a legal if controversial medical treatment. Vera previously lost to Thiago Silva at UFC 125 in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2011, but it was later discovered Silva had provided the athletic commission with a fraudulent urine sample. Silva's win was subsequently overturned.

In a statement provided to MMA Junkie, Rothwell said the news of being over the acceptable testosterone limit came as a 'shock' because he asserts he'd been prescribed the treatment by a medical doctor and tested every week for the eight weeks prior to the fight all the while staying in permitted ranges.

Rothwell will eligible to begin competing again on June 1, 2014.

Update: The UFC has provided a statement on the situation:

As the result of a blood test indicating an elevated level of testosterone in his system following UFC 164 in Milwaukee, WI, on August 31, the UFC has suspended heavyweight Ben Rothwell for nine (9) months from the date of the contest.  Rothwell's post-fight blood test was administered by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.  While the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services has elected not to impose any discipline on Rothwell, to date, the UFC holds its athletes to a high standard of personal and professional conduct and finds that Rothwell's actions merit the suspension as a violation of the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy and his Promotional Agreement with Zuffa, LLC.  Upon completion of his suspension, Rothwell must also submit a negative drug test before being allowed to compete in a UFC event.

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