UFC welterweight Jesse Ronson gets 20-month USADA suspension after failed drug test, win overturned (updated)

UFC welterweight Jesse Ronson on Tuesday said he’s been suspended for 20 months by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after testing positive for a banned substance.

Ronson, 34, broke the news via his own Facebook page with additional sources confirming the information to MMA Fighting. USADA does not release information about an athlete’s suspension until the adjudication process has been completed, but the anti-doping agency confirmed Ronson’s positive test and sanction in a prepared statement after the fighter announced it on Tuesday night.

“It is with great surprise, and sadness that I have to inform you that I have received a suspension from USADA for the detection of a banned substance in my sample provided to them during an out of competition test,” Ronson wrote. “This has turned my world upside down as it’s a 20-month suspension. I haven’t slept much and have been sick to my stomach as I would never knowingly or purposely take a banned substance.

“USADA has been working with me for the last few weeks trying to find the reason for my failed test as they (USADA) along with me and my team believe it’s from a tainted supplement.”

A UFC official confirmed Ronson’s UFC on ESPN 14 win over Nicolas Dalby has been overturned to a no-contest. The promotion acted as the regulator of the event in Abu Dhabi as there was no state athletic commission to oversee it. ESPN.com first reported the change of result.

According to Ronson and USADA, the positive drug test was for a substance called Metandienone, which is an androgen and anabolic steroid. Metandienone is well known as a physique and performance enhancing drug introduced and previously sold under the brand name Dianabol. Anabolic steroids such as metandienone are banned at all times for athletes competing under the UFC’s anti-doping policy.

USADA stated that Ronson failed an out-of-competition test conducted on July 22, 2020 and didn’t disclose his use of metandienone in his onboarding documents prior to re-joining the UFC. His suspension is retroactive to the test failure, meaning he’ll be cleared to compete on March 22, 2022.

“Upon being added to the UFC anti-doping program, athletes are required to declare all medications and supplements they have used in the previous 12 months,” USADA stated. “An athlete who declares the prior use of a prohibited substance will not be deemed to have committed a violation but, depending on the substance, may be required to refrain from competition for a period of at least six months and provide at least two negative samples. Ronson did not declare the use of metandienone on his onboarding declaration forms.”

The UFC’s anti-doping partner said Ronson received a four-month reduction in his original suspension. Ronson said that he had the supplement tested that he believed was contaminated at a personal cost of $1,000, but the results came back clean without any traces of metandienone.

“I am at a loss as all the other supplements I was taking at the time have been consumed and I cannot send them in for testing to prove my innocence,” he wrote. “Despite the high cost of [$1,000] per supplement, I would send them all in to clear my name and get a lesser suspension if I could but I can’t.

“Those who really know me know I would never take such a thing, as UFC is my dream job and goal and I have sacrificed so much of my time and life to achieve this goal and knowing USADA is very efficient and can drug test you at anytime and anywhere (blood and urine samples collected) and you have to provide your whereabouts 24/7 so they can come test you whenever. I would never jeopardize this by taking a steroid.”

Ronson just recently rejoined the UFC roster and picked up an impressive first-round submission over Nicolas Dalby in July. He earned a Performance of the Night bonus for that win in his first fight back in the UFC since 2014.

Despite his suspension, Ronson added that he still stands in full support of USADA and the UFC’s drug testing program while maintaining his innocence in this particular case.

“As a man of my word I strongly support the term, ‘If you’re caught and you did it man up to it,” Ronson wrote. “I did not knowingly or purposely take this banned substance.”