Former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko has been hit hard with a three year suspension from the sport by the California State Athletic Commission after testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone following his KO victory over Melvin Manhoef at Bellator 133 back in February.
In addition he’s also been fined $10,000 and his win overturned to a no-contest ruling, but those will be the least of the 31 year-old Russian’s worries as this ban leaves his career in tatters.
There’s absolutely no doubt that Shlemenko was using Performance Enhancing Drugs though, with his Testosterone-to-epitestosterone levels coming in at a whopping 50:1 ratio (the legal limit in California is 4:1).
Shlemenko has racked up 61 fights over the course of his career and had been fighting for Bellator over the course of the past 5 years.
He won the promotion’s middleweight tournament back in 2011 and would then go on to claim the title two years later which he successfully defended three times.
A one-off move up to light-heavyweight against Tito Ortiz in 2014 proved to be ill-advised though, suffering a first round submission defeat, while he lost his middleweight title in his next bout with another submission loss, this time against Brandon Halsey.
His win over Manhoef had been seen as a step in the right direction to getting back on track, but not any more.
Shlemenko is the first well known fighter to be hit by new, far stricter PED punishments, but he’s unlikely to be the last, especially with the UFC having recently committed to an industry leading drug testing protocol that will see out-of-competition testing overseen by USADA for every fighter on the roster multiple times a year.