Former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum to ask for release from UFC


Former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum, who is under U.S. Anti-Doping Agency suspension until May 2020 because of a failed drug test, plans on visiting with UFC officials next week in an effort to appeal for his release from the promotion to he can resume his fighting career.

“It’s a very hard situation, because I don’t want to stop fighting,” Werdum said during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday. “I’m very young. I’m 41, but my mind is like I’m 28. My body is OK yet.”

Werdum was suspended last September after an out-of-competition test administered in April 2018 found the anabolic steroid Trenbolone in his system, along with its metabolite Epitrendolone.

The UFC does not allow fighters under USADA suspension to compete in its events. Werdum said he has two fights remaining on his UFC contract.

“I love the UFC,” said Werdum. “But the best decision for me is release, for sure.”

Werdum said he believes the positive test was a result of contamination. Though the offending substance was not detected in any of the supplements he had tested in a lab, the Brazilian blames the contamination on meat in his diet. “I eat a lot of meat,” he said.

Werdum also said that two weeks after April’s positive test, he was tested again, and the second test came back clean. “I don’t understand this,” he said. “How is it that you have something in your body, and two weeks later you have nothing more?”

Although he was denied his release when he initially made the request to the UFC earlier this month — “because I’m a former champion, because the [fans] love me” — Werdum is hoping for the best next week. “I love the UFC,” he said. “A very nice company.”

In addition to fighting 16 times for the UFC, a relationship that goes back 12 years, Werdum (23-8-1) also has worked for the promotion as an analyst on Spanish-language telecasts.

Werdum said that with a release, he would be agreeable to not competing against the UFC with a promotion in the United States. “I will fight in Japan, in Russia,” he said.

He won the UFC belt in 2015 by submitting Cain Velasquez and lost it the next year to Stipe Miocic. Werdum has not fought since last May’s knockout loss to Alexander Volkov, but he is scheduled for a combat jiu-jitsu match Feb. 22 in Mexico against 2017 ADCC submission grappling world champion Gordon Ryan. Werdum is a two-time ADCC champ (2007, 2009).

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