The world of MMA is no stranger to big time athletes getting popped for violations, and this time, a big athlete (in both senses of the word) has been popped and is being banned for over a year. James Thompson is a major heavy hitter in the world of MMA and has been famous for his fights over the years, but it seems that after a recently failed test, Thompson is going to be hit with a suspension that will have him out of the Octagon and various rings for at least a year in the sport. To make matters worse, the suspension is coming off of a loss he suffered most recently at Bellator 191.
Thompson is a veteran who has had his fair share of struggles in the cage, and while this most recent bout was an opportunity for him to reclaim his reputation and build back up, it seems that the recent suspension is only going to make things worse. The England-native was coming off of back-to-back MMA losses, and this would’ve been his third opportunity to right the ship and stop the bleeding in the proverbial sense of the word. However, that’s not what happened at all.
It had been over three years Thompson had sniffed victory in the cage, and by the time Bellator 191 rolled around, he was looking to get a comeback win over Phil De Fries, an experienced MMA fighter in his own right. Instead. the hulking 290-pound Thompson looked anything but spectacular. He was deftly choked out via guillotine from De Fries. While losing by choke at least means there was some technical brilliance on the side of his opponent, he also lost decisively in a few previous appearances against the likes of Bobby Lashley and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka. With yet another loss on his record, you would think that Thompson would immediately want to go back out there and try and get back to formerly winning ways, but because of his post-fight drug test failure it seems that that will not be happening any time soon.
The drug in question is Drostanolone (Masteron). Drostanolone is actually a favourite for MMA fighters thanks to its highly androgenic properties and the fact it allows for tremendous strength without sacrificing other properties. The drug test failure was made official by Mike Mazzulli, a gaming official that oversees the jurisdictions that Bellator and other fighting associations are sanctioned. The official statement of Thompson’s failure was not made official until December 29th, 2017, just soon after Thompson had fought at Bellator 191.
Because the sample was taken following the fight, it shows that he or his handlers had underestimated the half-life and the duration of time that steroids metabolites would still be found in his body even despite the fact the fight had already ended. With issues in recent years regarding rampant usage of PEDs in MMA, many associations have recently been doing whatever possible to revamp and improve their drug protocols, not only to improve the sanctity and safety of their organizations, but they also wanted to improve the image at-large of their organization.
While some might say that this is a big blow for Thompson, the truth is that he can definitely return to fighting under the jurisdiction that Mazzulli oversees as early as 11 months from now, in December of 2018. But in order to compete he will have to actually submit a clean drug test before actually engaging in any bout, But aside from that, he is free to compete in whatever fighting associations he wants—Rizin Fighting Federation in Japan is one that does not do any steroid testing whatsoever.