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Ivan Shtyrkov signs with Rizin after ‘abnormal’ drug test result kept him away from the UFC

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Ivan Shtyrkov is undefeated in 17 professional fights.
Photo via Shtyrkov's Instagram

Ivan Shtyrkov has a new place to call home.

Rizin Fighting Federation announced on Thursday that Shtyrkov, unbeaten in 17 professional bouts with 16 wins and one draw, has inked a deal with the Japanese company to face Kim Hoon (10-12-2) at the Rizin 17 show in Tokyo, Japan, on July 28.

The Russian prospect was signed with the UFC and scheduled to make his debut in April, facing Devin Clark in St. Petersburg. However, hours before the event, Clark announced that his opponent was “sick” and hospitalized, therefore he couldn’t make it to the Octagon.

Months later, as Shtyrkov signs with Rizin, his team revealed that an “abnormal” drug test result kept him away from UFC St. Petersburg, and eventually led to them parting ways.

Shtyrkov’s manager Daniel Rubenstein released the following statement, via Rizin.

“When Ivan Shtyrkov signed with the UFC, he was immediately subjected to USADA testing,” Rubenstein’s statement read. “During one of those USADA tests, Ivan’s sample came back with an abnormal reading, not a positive test for PEDs. UFC decided it was best to pull Ivan from the fight in Saint Petersburg until more tests could be concluded. After two more laboratories did tests on the samples, they found that even though the levels of testosterone in his body were within the legal limits, they couldn’t determine that the testosterone was only naturally produced. Ivan maintains that he has not taken anything on the USADA banned list for the previous 10 months, however the UFC and USADA’s look back window is one year, and as we have seen with other athletes in the UFC, some substances can stay in your body significantly longer than that one year. Ivan is excited for his opportunity with RIZIN and understands that he will be subjected to their drug testing policies and plans to abide by them. He is looking forward to competing in Tokyo in July.”

Shtyrkov last fought in December, knocking out former UFC light heavyweight Thiago Silva in the first round at RCC 5 in Russia.

“The agreement with Rizin is a new story in my career,” Shtyrkov stated in a release. “I am grateful to the league for the opportunity to return to the game and introduce myself to Japanese fans.”

Rizin also announced that “King” Reina Miura (11-2) will return to the Japanese ring to take on Stephanie Egger (3-1) at 63kg (138.8 pounds), while Taiga (19-9-1) battles Hikari Machida (35-17-3) in a kickboxing contest.

The updated card can be seen below.

Yusuke Yachi vs Mikuru Asakura
Yuki Motoya vs Hiromasa Ogikubo
Shintaro Ishiwatari vs Ulka Sasaki
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Ali AbdulKhalikov
Satoru Kitaoka vs Johnny Case
Roberto de Souza vs Mizuto Hirota
Seo Hee Ham vs Tomo Maesawa
Jake Heun vs Vitaly Shemetov
Ivan Shtyrkov vs Kim Hoon
Reina Miura vs Stephanie Egger
Kevin Ross vs Daiki Watabe (kickboxing)
Taiga vs Hikari Machida (kickboxing)