Former Bellator MMA middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko has filed suit against the California State Athletic Commission in an effort to overturn a three-year suspension and $10,000 fine.
Shlemenko, 31, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Aug. 28. A trial-setting conference has been scheduled to take place on Dec. 2.
The CSAC suspended Shlemenko for three years after he tested positive for a dramatically elevated testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio of 50-1, more than 12 times the allowed limit, on Feb. 13. He also tested positive for the anabolic steroid oxandrolone.
Shlemenko (51-9) and his legal team believe the three-year suspension does not fall in line with precedents the CSAC has set for first-time offenders. Additionally, Shlemenko argued during a June 23 disciplinary hearing that the results of the test should be thrown out altogether, as he was not afforded the right to a B sample.
The three-year suspension is longer than previous actions taken by the CSAC. Suspension lengths in general are increasing across the country, as the issue of rampant performance-enhancing drug use in combat sports has been brought to the forefront. Two weeks prior to suspending Shlemenko for three years, the CSAC suspended Bellator bantamweight Mike Richman two years for a failed drug test. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is currently working to adopt measures that call for lengthier suspensions as well. Those measures are expected to go into effect later this year.
Shlemenko defeated Melvin Manhoef via knockout on Feb. 13 in Fresno, California. The result of that fight was changed to a no-contest following the failed drug test. The Russian middleweight has denied all wrongdoing related to the failed test.