Kelvin Gastelum came off season 17 of the Ultimate Fighter as a surprising new talent for the UFC. The show, which seemed set to showcase Uriah Hall, instead saw Gastelum assert himself as a young top prospect on the rise. A fighter with a wide open and promising future.
4 years and 10 fights later, a still only 25-year-old Gastelum seems to be treading water. While there’s no question that the Kings MMA fighter has found success inside the cage, that success always seems to come with an asterisk.
A 5-2 run at welterweight came with two missed weight cuts, and a brief sojourn up to middleweight to fight Nate Marquardt. Following a less-than-thrilling win over Johny Hendricks at UFC 200, Gastelum made a more permanent move to 185lbs, leapfrogging up the rankings with wins over Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort.
But, while weight may no longer be an issue, other things are getting in the way. Namely a failed drug test, for marijuana. One that has now seen Gastelum’s win over Belfort officially changed to a No Contest.
MMA Fighting reports that the Brazilian MMA Sports Court (STJDMMA) has stripped Gastelum of his latest win as part of a plea agreement. Along with the No Contest result on the books, Gastelum will also be hit with a 90-day suspension, and be fined 20% of his fight purse from the UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Gastelum event.
Gastelum gave a brief statement on Twitter in response to the penalties handed down:
Suspension accepted, but i will NEVER fight in Brazil again. All they want is $$$$
— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) May 7, 2017
While none of these punitive measures is likely to halt Gastelum’s momentum entirely (his suspension will be up in a little over a month). They represent another in a growing list of minor setbacks that raise question as to whether he’ll meet his potential as a title contender anytime in the near future. The current belt situations in the middleweight and welterweight divisions aren’t going to help him any, but Gastelum isn’t doing himself any favors either.
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