TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/9: Gastelum says he won’t return to Brazil after his fine and suspension, Iaquinta’s latest (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Kelvin Gastelum (photo credit Tom Szczerbowski © USA Today Sports)

At one point it looked like UFC middleweight Kelvin Gastelum was going to go on a run as a Brazilian-killer, but after his first experience fighting in the country, he says he won’t be back.

Gastelum won a convincing first round knockout over Vitor Belfort in March in Fortaleza, Brazil and was quickly booked to return to fight another Brazilian legend, Anderson Silva, in June in Rio de Janeiro. But then the Belfort win was recently overturned to a no-contest by the Brazilian commission, Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA), after it was revealed that Gastelum tested positive for THC, a marijuana metabolite. Gastelum was subsequently suspended for 90 days by the CABMMA and fined 20 percent of his purse. Gastelum was pulled from the Silva bout once the failure was announced.

The experience has soured Gastelum enough on Brazil to the point that he has no interest in returning. In a tweet on Sunday, he wrote: “Suspension accepted, but I will NEVER fight in Brazil again. All they want is $$$$.”

The CABMMA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Gastelum may be off of the Rio card, but there is still hope for the Silva fight if it can be booked stateside. UFC has been unsuccessful in booking a new fight for Silva on the June UFC 212 card, so the Gastelum fight could theoretically be rebooked once his suspension is up on June 11.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: I think Gastelum’s frustration is misplaced here. While it was the Brazilian commission that fined and suspended him, the sanctions were issued with the USADA’s cooperation and likely would have happened in an identical fashion wherever the fight took place. Having a win overturned and losing 20 percent of your purse seems very steep for a marijuana failure, and I don’t blame Gastelum for being upset about that; it’s just not Brazil’s fault. Whether he wants to go back to Brazil or not, he won’t be able to fight on UFC 212, so hopefully he can get a fight soon after. I still like the Silva fight, so it would nice to see that fight booked sometime this summer, perhaps as a co-main event for Jones-Cormier 2, which is being targeted for UFC 214 in late July.


-Vitor Belfort, who has said he intends to retire after fighting Nate Marquardt at UFC 212 on June 3 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has been training for the fight at the Tristar gym in Montreal. The word got out when Tristar member Alex Garcia posted a picture of the team to his Instagram that included Belfort.

-Al Iaquinta responded on Twitter to the anonymous UFC official who spoke to MMA Junkie about Iaquinta’s misbehavior and “bonus ban.” Iaquinta wrote: “I must have hit nerve! A highly placed official from a 4 billion dollar company speaking ANONYMOUSLY.., sad! #Fakenews.”

-UFC featherweight Doo Ho Choi posted a picture to his Instagram of himself alongside Artem Lobov with the caption “YES.” Lobov responded on Twitter: “I am ready to go.”

-Jonathan Meunier vs. Li Jingliang has been booked for UFC Fight Night Singapore on June 17.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/8: UFC official responds to Iaquinta’s social media rants, Anderson Silva UFC 212 update (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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