Ben Rothwell, the American mixed martial artist who competes as a Heavyweight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, has been flagged by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

The UFC announced the 35-year-old Rothwell is facing a UFC anti-doping policy violation stemming from a Feb. 6 sample collection. The UFC and USADA do not disclose the substance-in-question until the completion of the adjudication process unless the athlete decides to divulge it first.

Rothwell was expected to face Fabricio Werdum at UFC 211 on May 13 in Dallas. A Wisconsin native, Rothwell was on a four-fight winning streak before he lost via unanimous decision to Junior dos Santos in April 2016. The fighter was expected to meet Werdum last September, but withdrew due to injury.

In a statement, Rothwell remarked that he would like to take this time to let everyone know that he had been under the care of a physician and trying to overcome a medical illness. Rothwell (36-10) added he would appreciate the chance to show that he had not cheated nor did he intend to cheat. The American mixed martial artist also asked people to hold their opinions of him until all the facts are out and added he would appreciate everyone’s support as he goes through the process with the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

In 2013, Rothwell was suspended by the UFC for a period of nine months for elevated testosterone levels stemming from an in-competition sample collected in relation to his UFC 164 fight with Brandon Vera. At the time, Rothwell was a user of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) but tested for levels outside the threshold despite having a valid therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for the bout. However, Rothwell was not suspended by the Wisconsin Athletic Commission.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency will take into account details of the first failed drug test during its adjudication process to determine sanction length.

Recently, a retroactive Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) was granted to Cris Cyborg after she was flagged for a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation back in December.

Ben Rothwell is best known for competing for the Quad Cities Silverbacks of the International Fight League where he held an undefeated 9–0 record before leaving the promotion because of a contract dispute. The #5 in official UFC Heavyweight rankings, Rothwell has also had one-fight stints in Affliction, M-1 Global, and King of the Cage. In early 2001, Rothwell made his professional debut and won by TKO only 21 seconds into the fight. Rothwell then went on to win his next three fights, all under two minutes into the first round and all with strikes.

The fighter then faced Tim Sylvia, the future two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion and fellow Miletich Fighting Systems fighter but lost. Rothwell however managed to come out of the defeat and won his next seven fights, all by submission or TKO. Rothwell made his UFC debut at UFC 104 against undefeated Cain Velasquez on October 24, 2009 and lost controversially via TKO one minute into round two as Rothwell seemed to be getting to his feet as the referee Steve Mazzagatti stopped the fight.

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