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In wake of USADA suspension, UFC releases David Branch from contract

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David Branch Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC has for a second time cut ties with David Branch.

The former two-division WSOF champ was released by the industry leader one day after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) handed him a two-year suspension for a failed drug test.

A UFC official confirmed Branch’s release after an initial tweet from reporter Mike Russell. A request for comment to Branch wasn’t immediately returned.

Branch (22-6) failed an out-of-competition USADA test on May 24, coming up positive for Ipamorelin, a substance that mimics growth hormone and is banned year-round. Several NBA athletes have tested positive for the drug and received substantial suspensions.

The USADA suspension comes one month after Branch was removed from a scheduled fight against Andrew Sanchez at UFC Vancouver. USADA does not announce the results of anti-doping cases until they have been resolved.

Branch’s two-year suspension bars him from competition until July 26, 2021, and his suspension is noted in the Association of Boxing Commission’s administrative database. However, the suspension is only used for informational purposes; ABC-member athletic commissions will have ultimate authority over whether Branch can receive a fight license.

In 2016, Branch re-signed with the UFC after a star-making comeback in the WSOF (now rebranded as the PFL). But recent octagon outings were problematic, and he had lost his past two fights, including a 49-second submission setback against Jack Hermansson in March.

Branch leaves the UFC with a 2-3 mark after a 2-2 run with the promotion in 2010-2011, where he famously was the victim of a brutal slam knockout courtesy of Gerald Harris.