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Former UFC fighter Ivan Shtyrkov suspended two years by USADA following failed drug test

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Photo via Shtyrkov’s Instagram

Russian light heavyweight Ivan Shtyrkov has been suspended for two years by USADA following a failed drug test taken prior to his scheduled UFC debut earlier this year.

USADA officials announced the news on Tuesday.

“Shtyrkov, 31, who was added to the UFC roster in the middle of March, had two out-of-competition urine samples collected on March 27, 2019 and April 3, 2019 reported as atypical shortly before he was scheduled to compete in a UFC bout,” USADA officials wrote in a statement.

“USADA notified the UFC of the laboratory’s initial atypical findings, and out of an abundance of caution, the UFC removed Shtyrkov from the card in which he was scheduled to compete. After conducting additional analysis, the laboratory reported both Shtyrkov’s samples as positive for boldenone and its metabolite 5β-androst-1-en-17β-ol-3-one.”

Boldenone is an anabolic steroid, which is banned at all times for athletes competing in the UFC under the USADA drug testing program.

While Shtyrkov was initially flagged for atypical findings in his drug tests, USADA eventually discovered the banned substance by using the isotope ratio mass spectrometry method with his samples.

The two year suspension back dates to March 27, which means technically Shtyrkov would not be eligible to fight again until after March 27, 2021.

That said, Shtyrkov never actually fought for the UFC and he was eventually released from his contract, which led to the undefeated Russian signing with RIZIN Fighting Federation in Japan.

Promptly after signing his new deal, Shtyrkov was confirmed to face Kim Hoon at RIZIN 17 on July 28. While a USADA suspension would typically prevent a fighter from competing under a different promotional banner, RIZIN isn’t sanctioned by a state or national commission to oversee their shows in Japan.

The promotion was aware of Shtyrkov’s situation prior to signing him and his upcoming fight will move ahead as scheduled regardless of the USADA suspension.

Fighters competing under a sanction issued by USADA or another governing body could be subject to additional penalties if they ever return to compete in a state or country that is regulated by a commission.

For now it appears Shtyrkov will continue his career outside of USADA’s reach with his current deal with RIZIN.