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Cung Le requests contract release; calls UFC 'something I don't believe in anymore'

Esther Lin

We're more than a month removed from the resolution of Cung Le's drug-test dispute with the UFC, but the bad feelings on the fighter's end of things have yet to subside.

Le revealed Wednesday that he has told his manager, Gary Ibarra, to request his release from his UFC contract.

On veteran MMA reporter Josh Gross' "Gross Point Blank" podcast, Le explained that he no longer has it in him to work for Zuffa in the wake of a drug test which was first announced as a failure for human growth hormone, then was rescinded.

"I'd just prefer not to be part of the UFC anymore," Le told Gross. "I'd prefer not to put the effort into something I don't believe in anymore."

It was announced that Le had tested positive for elevated levels of human growth hormone following his fourth round TKO loss to Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 48 on Aug. 23 in Macau, People's Republic of China. The UFC, which oversees its own drug testing for international events, first announced a nine-month suspension, then upped it to a year.

After Le requested an appeal of the process, however, the UFC changed course and rescinded the test results and the ban.

Ibarra, who also appeared on Gross' podcast, says the damage was done, regardless of the result.

"The consensus prior to this situation was that Cung was that he was an honorable man," Ibarra said. "A family man, a true embodiment of what martial arts is: Respect, honor, he embodied all of those things. And now hii career will ever be tarnished, or forever have something of an asterisk next to it, due to something that is no fault of his own. Does anybody deserve that? No, absolutely not. I would hope the UFC would understand that and recuse themselves from further drug testing when there are no athletic commissions, and leave drug testing in the hands of people who specialize in drug testing so that this doesn't happen again."

The 42-year old Le, who indicated he has dropped his requested apology from the UFC over the matter, said he hasn't made up his mind on whether he's going to fight again. However, if he does so, he said his choice would be to reunite with Scott Coker, the current Bellator CEO, with whom he has a business relationship dating back to his days as a kickboxer.

"If I would fight for anyone, it would be Scott Coker," Le said. "I would not fight for the UFC after what happened."

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