Former Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko has not stepped foot inside the Bellator cage since February 2015 when a failed drug test put the future of his career in question.
After battling with the California State Athletic Commission which saw Shlemenko get his three-year suspension overturned and his fine reduced, Shlemenko is now set to make his return to U.S. soil to face Kendall Grove at Bellator 162.
“It was a very difficult period of time for me because it’s really difficult to be punished for something you haven’t done,” Shlemenko said, via MMAjunkie “But I’m happy the commission gave me permission to fight in Russia so I could stay active. I’m very glad to be back in the Bellator cage.”
Shlemenko says he got plenty of support in the meantime, and thinks fans saw through the commission and its decisions.
“The main reason was that when those numbers were published, for people that know about the sport, it was obvious that they were not just high, but super high, and the fact that the test wasn’t an out-of-competition test, but we knew about this test ahead of time,” Shlemenko said. “I think most people realized the commission’s decision was very biased.
“Nobody’s guaranteed against mistakes, and if the commission makes a mistake, they will never admit it. The current relationship is far from perfect because they are catching people who are using forbidden substances. But at the same time, there could be mistakes.
“In a perfect world, there would be a completely independent structure, and there would be an unbiased approach to all the competitors so everyone would be in the same conditions. That would be the best.”