Prior to UFC on Fox 6 happening last December, the UFC announced that they would be instituting a new fighter conduct policy to oversee the more than 400 fighters on the promotional roster.
At the time as it was explained by UFC counsel Lawrence Epstein, many of the rules that were being instituted had already been in place, but now they were in writing and would be upheld for the fighters under contract.
It appears UFC on Fuel 7 fighter Matt Riddle felt the sting of those newly implemented rules after he failed his second test for marijuana in the span of seven months, and as a result he was released from the promotion on Tuesday.
Riddle initially announced the release himself, but on Wednesday the UFC followed up with their own statement regarding his dismissal from the company following the positive drug test.
Matthew Riddle tested positive for marijuana metabolites following his bout at UFC on FUEL TV 7 in London, England on February 16, 2013. This is Riddle’s second failed drug test for marijuana within the past seven months. Riddle previously failed a post-fight drug test due to marijuana following his UFC 149 victory over Chris Clements.
Because of the second infraction in such a short period of time, Riddle was ultimately released from the UFC and his win against Che Mills was overturned to a no-contest. The UFC acts as the governing body when they travel to areas with no recognized athletic commission, as was the case when they traveled to England for UFC on Fuel 7.
The UFC statement about their decision on Riddle confirms that his release is a direct result of the violation of the new fighter conduct policy, and thus his contract was terminated.
The UFC organization is exercising its right to terminate Riddle for breach of his obligations under his Promotional Agreement as well as the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. The UFC organization has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents. The outcome of the bout against Che Mills was changed to a no contest and the results of the positive test will be reported to the official Association of Boxing Commissions MMA record-keeper.
Riddle's release is one of the first times the UFC has ever dropped a fighter following a positive drug test. In the past some other fighters such as Dave Herman have been offered rehabilitation as part of their agreement with the UFC after a positive drug test result.
In Riddle's case, however, it appears the second positive test in such a short span of time ultimately led to his undoing.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report