The 2023 Professional Fighters League (PFL) season underwent some serious changes recently after a slew of fighters were suspended following the first three PFL events. This past May, ten PFL fighters were removed from the season due to failed drug tests. Among the names caught up in the controversy was Rob Wilkinson, a reigning PFL champion.
Alex Behunin of MMA Mania was the first to report the suspension that came after Wilkinson defeated Thiago Santos via decision at PFL 1 this past April. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) recently revealed the rest of the punishments for the fighters, which included suspensions, fines and changed results.
PFL champion Rob Wilkinson reacts to drug test failure
For PFL champion Rob Wilkinson, he received a nine-month suspension, an $8,321 fine ($495 in testing fees and $326 in prosecution fees) and his win against Santos overturned to a No Contest. Per the NSAC, ‘Razor’ tested positive for an elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio that resulted from an ‘androgynous origin of testosterone’.
Now that he has received his punishment, PFL champion Rob Wilkinson has responded to the fallout from his failed drug test. He apologized and expressed regret for his actions, writing he was ‘extremely disappointed’ in himself.
“Firstly, I would like to thank you for your support over my career and I want to provide you all with an explanation for my nonattendance in the 2023 PFL season,” wrote Wilkinson.
“After my last fight on April 1st, I failed an in-competition drug test, which has resulted in my suspension for the rest of the 2023 PFL season. I have and will continue to reflect on all the reasons that led me down this path, but regardless of these reasons, I am extremely disappointed in myself. I want to emphasize that I wholeheartedly accept full responsibility for the choices I have made and the consequences that have come with it.
“To my family, friends, team, fans, and the PFL, I’ve let you down and for that I am sorry,” continued Wilkinson. “All I can do now is learn and grow from my mistakes, as I’ve always tried to do. I will take this time to improve my mentality and skill set and will be back better than ever. Through every set back, is an opportunity for a stronger come back. To all of those who have reached out and shown unwavering support during this challenging time, I want to express my sincerest gratitude to you all. I truly appreciate each and every one of you.
“I am looking forward to putting this behind me and getting back to what I love. I promise you that I will be bringing the PFL 2024 LHW belt back to Australia.”PFL champion Rob Wilkinson responds to drug test fallout on Instagram
After a departure from the UFC following losses to Siyar Bahadurzada and Israel Adesanya, Wilkinson fought twice in the Australian circuit before he signed with Professional Fighters League. In his first run, the 31-year-old rattled off three consecutive (T)KO wins against Bruce Souto, Viktor Pesta and Delan Monte to earn a spot in the 2022 PFL Light Heavyweight Tournament final.
Wilkinson would win the tournament after adding a TKO of Omari Akhmedov to his résumé at PFL 10 this past November.
PFL to implement new drug testing policy with USADA
In response to the drug test failures, PFL announced it would adopt a new policy with the help of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
“PFL has been notified by the Nevada State Athletic Commission that several fighters who competed in PFL 2023 Regular Season events this past April have been temporarily suspended until further review by the Commission,” said the promotion in a statement.
“The PFL has a zero-tolerance policy related to the usage of banned substances and complies with U.S. State Athletic Commission requirements. Further, as the PFL moves towards the highest level of testing and compliance in the sport, PFL is engaged with USADA on the implementation of its athlete anti-doping program.”
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