UFC heavyweight Ilir Latifi has been suspended for three months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission after he failed to disclose an infectious illness ahead of his most recent bout.
The suspension was handed down during a monthly meeting on Wednesday.
Latiifi will be eligible to compete again after Jan. 1, 2023 once he completes the suspension and pays $407.50 in legal fees. He will also have to submit a clean medical exam ahead of his next scheduled fight in the state of Nevada.
Following his win over Aleksei Oleinik in October, Latifi revealed that he actually fought with a staph infection, which wasn’t disclosed in any of his pre-fight medical documentation.
“Even this week you see my leg is all swollen, I didn’t even tell my coaches but I’ve got a staph infection two days ago,” Latifi said at UFC Vegas 61. “As you can see here, my leg is all swollen. It’s an amazing sport but the margins are so small. You put in so much work and this thing happens the last day.
“Today when I woke up, my leg was swollen and I was like I can’t cancel again so I had to fight like this with a fever and a staph infection but that’s part of being a fighter.”
Staph infections, which are caused by staphylococcus bacteria, can cause serious medical issues and even death if not treated properly. A staph infection can also be transmitted through person-to-person contact, which obviously puts other athletes in harm’s way due to exposure.
The commission added that this particular decision would be setting a new precedent for athletes who don’t disclose injuries or illnesses ahead of scheduled bouts and “suspensions may be increased and fines may be increased depending on the situation.”
Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Jeff Mullen noted that injuries or illnesses disclosed on pre-fight medical forms would remain private and not be made public.