by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
Breaking News on MMAWeekly: Lightweight UFC fighter and former Ultimate Fighter contestant Melvin Guillard was suspended for eight months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission at a disciplinary hearing today in Las Vegas. He was also fined $2,100 out of his $7,000 purse for the fight.
Guillard tested positive for Benzoylegonine, a major metabolite of cocaine, following his loss to Joe Stevenson at UFC Fight Night 9 on April 5th. Guillard’s fight against Stevenson was the card’s main event, and it aired live on Spike TV.
Guillard was the first MMA fighter to test positive for cocaine in the state of Nevada. In neighboring California, only one MMA fighter, Ricco Rodriguez, has tested positive for cocaine.
At his disciplinary hearing in front of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Guillard admitted that he used cocaine. Guillard said that on Friday, March 30th, he was hanging out with some friends and not intending to use any drugs, but “one thing led to another” and he ended up trying cocaine. Guillard said that he thought the drug would be out of his system within 72 hours and that he absolutely did not expect to test positive when he fought six days later.
Guillard said, “I’ve only been introduced to drugs in the past year or so.” He added that he has only used drugs for recreational purposes, and that he does not have an addiction. Guillard did not specify which other drugs he has used, but he did state that he has never used performance-enhancing drugs.
Guillard said to the commissioners, “I made an honest mistake. I embarrassed myself, and I embarrassed my family.” Guillard said that the hardest part of the whole process was explaining to his mother what he had done. Guillard added that he has subsequently tried to put himself in a new environment with different people surrounding him and that he does not intend to use drugs in the future.
The commissioners said that there is precedent on the sentencing of fighters who test positive for certain drugs, but that they also have some leeway to give suspensions on the low end of the spectrum or the high end of the spectrum. The commissioners did appreciate Guillard’s honesty and the fact that he appeared to be remorseful for his actions. At that point, a motion was introduced to suspend Guillard for eight months from the date of the fight and to fine him 30 percent of his purse for the fight (or $2,100 out of his $7,000 purse). The motion passed unanimously.
There has never been a positive cocaine test for a fighter in the state of Nevada. Professional boxer Omar Nino tested positive for methamphetamine in March 2006 and was given a suspension of nine months, one month longer than Guillard’s suspension.
Although Guillard was the only fighter on the UFC Fight Night 9 card to have failed his drug test, only six of the card’s eighteen fighters were drug-tested. The NSAC spent a total of $1,670 on drug testing for UFC Fight Night 9, while the total cost of drug testing every single fighter on the card would have been $5,011. No fighters at all were drug-tested at UFC 69, which took place in Houston, Texas; or at UFC 70, which took place in Manchester, England.
The issue of drug-testing in MMA has become increasingly prevalent as more and more fighters have failed drug tests. At a teleconference prior to UFC 70, when a reporter raised the issue with UFC president Dana White and specifically mentioned Diego Sanchez’ positive test for marijuana and Melvin Guillard’s positive test for cocaine, White said that it always sucks whenever any UFC fighter tests positive for anything. When the reporter asked if the UFC would consider instituting random drug testing of its own, in addition to the athletic commission drug testing that always takes place on the day of the events, White did not directly address the question. Instead, he said that all of the fighters on The Ultimate Fighter reality show have to pass a drug test before they can be on the show, and some of the other fighters are drug-tested by the athletic commissions, but he concluded, “I don’t know what else I can do.”
Guillard will have to provide a negative drug test to the NSAC before he will be allowed to fight again in the state of Nevada.