Li Jingliang beat his doping rap and now he has an actual fight on his hands.
The Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) removed Jingliang's temporary suspension last month when the state attorney general's office decided not to pursue the case, commission executive director Bob Bennett confirmed with MMA Fighting. The Chinese fighter will meet Chad Laprise at UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto, the UFC announced Friday.
Jingliang failed a drug test in May for clenbuterol, but was found to have no fault by USADA in September due to the prevalence of the drug in contaminated meat in Jingliang's home country of China. After an investigation, USADA determined that Jingliang most likely unknowingly ingested the banned substance through meat.
The NAC temporarily suspended him Aug. 23, but took him off the suspended list Sept. 13, when the Nevada state attorney general's office decided not to pursue the case. Bennett said the amount of clenbuterol found in Jingliang's system was an insignificant amount and the World Anti-Doping Agency has been forthright about issues with clenbuterol in China and Mexico.
Jingliang (11-4) is coming off a first-round knockout win over Anton Zafir at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale on July 8 in Las Vegas. "The Leech" sports a 3-2 record in the UFC. Jingliang, 28, has won two of his last three fights and is considered a solid prospect coming out of China.
Laprise (11-2) will move back up to welterweight for this fight. He most recently defeated Thibault Gouti via first-round TKO at UFC on FOX 21 in August, but missed weight by three pounds. Laprise, 30, lost two straight at 155 pounds previously.
UFC 206 is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between champion Daniel Cormier and challenger Anthony Johnson. No co-main event has been named yet.