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Brian Bowles suspended after failing drug test

Brett Okamoto | ESPN.com
August 17, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

The Nevada State Athletic Commission voted unanimously to suspend UFC bantamweight Brian Bowles for nine months, based on his elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio in May.

Bowles, who suffered a second-round TKO loss to George Roop at UFC 160, was also fined 30% of his $19,000 purse and must submit a clean drug test prior to reapplying for a fighter's license in Nevada. A pre-fight test submitted by Bowles prior to the May 25 contest produced a T/E ratio above 20-to-1. The NSAC limit is 6-to-1.

"I just want to apologise to the athletic commission," said Bowles. "It's embarrassing to me and it's embarrassing to the sport."

Bowles (10-3) swore under oath he never has used any performance-enhancing drug "willingly or knowingly," but could not pinpoint a reason for the failed test. He listed several supplements he took prior to the bout - "normal stuff" he had purchased on the Internet, including protein and fish oil.

Because of injury, Bowles was coming off an 18-month lay-off and said financially, he could not afford to take his usual list of supplements. "I swear on my mother's life I was not shooting testosterone," Bowles said. "It blew my mind when I heard how high my ratios were. I went and looked through everything. I didn't have a lot of money because I wasn't fighting. I was taking less supplements than I normally do."

Bowles' manager, Andrew F. Beach, suggested the positive result might have been due to a tainted supplement the fighter purchased online, saying some companies purposefully manipulate products in order to provide results and gain notoriety.

Bowles, 33, captured the biggest win of his career in Las Vegas when he knocked out Miguel Torres for the WEC bantamweight title in August 2009. He has suffered several setbacks since, losing the title in his next fight and battling a string of injuries.

Beach told ESPN.com that Bowles plans to return to competition after his suspension, which is backdated to May 25.

Brett Okamoto is the MMA columnist for ESPN.com

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