Ortiz’s win reinstated after drug-test controversy

MMA

Tito Ortiz has his win back.

The UFC Hall of Famer was disciplined by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) last month, which included the overturning of his December victory over Alberto Rodriguez to a no-contest. On Friday, the TDLR said Ortiz’s win had been reinstated.

As ESPN reported Thursday, TDLR spokesperson Tela Mange confirmed Ortiz tested positive for a “disqualifying substance” in an in-competition drug test from Dec. 7, 2019, the night of his Combate Americas bout with Rodriguez. However, Ortiz disclosed he was taking the substance — which is not a performance-enhancing drug — before the fight and told the department it was prescribed by a doctor.

Despite that, when the substance came up in Ortiz’s drug-test results the TDLR briefly suspended Ortiz and overturned his win. Sources told ESPN that Ortiz’s suspension was lifted Jan. 31. And Friday, the TDLR announced that it had cleared Ortiz and given him his win back after speaking with his doctor.

“Pending the outcome of the TDLR inquiry into whether the substance was indeed prescribed by a physician, TDLR marked the fight results as ‘No Contest,'” Mange said in a statement. “TDLR confirmed with the physician that the item was prescribed to Ortiz. TDLR has reinstated Ortiz’s victory in the Dec. 7 bout.”

Mange told ESPN that TDLR was just following its normal protocol in the Ortiz case.

“[A fighter will] say, ‘Hey, I’ve been prescribed this, FYI,'” she said. “We say, ‘Great.’ And then when it actually comes up, oftentimes we’ll take a second look at it just to make sure. That’s what happened in this case.”

Ortiz (21-12-1) beat Rodriguez, better known as former WWE champion Alberto Del Rio, with a rear-naked choke submission at 3:10 of the first round in the main event of a pay-per-view card in McAllen, Texas. The fight was billed as MMA vs. WWE and Ortiz was granted Rodriguez’s old WWE title belt after the victory.

Ortiz, 45, is one of the most popular fighters in MMA history, one of the building blocks when the UFC rose to popularity in the aughts. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is 5-1 since leaving the UFC in 2012. In the UFC, Ortiz was the second greatest light heavyweight champion in history after Jon Jones, with five successful title defenses.

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