(Still…how could you not love this guy? / Photos via Sherdog)
When middleweight slugger Doug Marshall got body-shot KO’d by Alexander Shlemenko during their title fight at Bellator 109, it put an end to one of the most unlikely career-comebacks in recent memory — a brief and terrifying period that we came to affectionately refer to as “The Rhino Era.” (aka, “Year of the Rhino,” “Rhino Time”) And unfortunately, Doug’s unhappy ending just got unhappier.
As first broken by TheMMAReport.com, Marshall tested positive for an undisclosed banned substance following his loss to Shlemenko last month, and has been suspended by the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission. PSAC Executive Director Gregory Sirb wouldn’t confirm the length of the suspension or any other details, but we’ll update you when we know more. In response to the news, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney issued a short statement to TheMMAReport:
“Greg Sirb at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission operates one of the best commissions in the country. Doug Marshall will have to adhere to any and every penalty that the Pennsylvania Commission delivers. When competing at the highest level, fighters are expected to train and prepare for their fights according to the rules and should fully expect to be tested at every Bellator event.”
“Expect to be tested” is an interesting way of putting it. Marshall is only the second Bellator fighter to fail a drug test — see also: Steven Artoff, sticky-icky — which sounds impressive until you realize that Bellator hasn’t always required drug tests from its fighters. After reaching out to commission contacts, TheMMAReport could only confirm that drug testing had taken place at 11 of the 25 events that Bellator held in 2013.
One more bit of semi-relevant info: Marshall was originally supposed to face Shlemenko at Bellator 98 in September — and was granted a therapeutic usage exemption for testosterone replacement therapy, according to Mohegan tribal commission director Michael Mazzulli — but the Rhino dropped off the card due to a broken hand.