Kurt Holobaugh’s UFC return hit a major snag Tuesday when the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) voted unanimously to suspend the featherweight veteran for nine months for his failure to disclose pre-fight IV use prior to his win over Matt Bessette at the inaugural event of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series on July 11.
Holobaugh was also fined $750, or 15 percent of his $5,000 show purse, and his first-round knockout win over Bessette was overturned into a no contest, per NAC officials. The nine-month suspension is retroactive to the date of the fight, meaning Holobaugh will be cleared to compete again on April 11, 2018. Upon his return, Holobaugh will be required to submit a clean drug test in order to gain relicensure in the state of Nevada.
Holobaugh admitted in a Tuesday meeting of the NAC that he used an IV containing 2,000 mL of fluid following the official DWTNCS 1 weigh-ins, believing that he was not competing under the jurisdiction of USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner. The IV use was not taken in conjunction with medical treatment and Holobaugh did not seek the required therapeutic use exemption (TUE), per NAC officials.
The NAC follows World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code in prohibiting IV use of more than 50 mL per a six-hour period both in-competition and out-of-competition, unless the IV “is administered during a hospital admission, surgical procedure or clinical investigation.”
Although Holobaugh accepted full responsibility for his mistake and NAC executive director Bob Bennett agreed that Holobaugh was forthright about his IV use — the fighter subsequently amended his paperwork with the commission — Holobaugh was still subject to NAC penalties for the misunderstanding.
Holobaugh (17-4, 1 NC) is a Strikeforce and Titan FC veteran who competed once in the UFC, losing a unanimous decision to Steven Siler in 2013, after which Holobaugh was released. The 31-year-old featherweight went on to compile an 8-2 record outside of the Octagon before debuting on DWTNCS 1 and winning a UFC contract for his performance against Bessette.
Now, though, it appears Holobaugh’s UFC return will have to wait until 2018.