Three-time UFC featherweight title contender Chad Mendes has been suspended for two years under the UFC's anti-doping program after testing positive for a growth-hormone-releasing hexapeptide.
The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced Mendes' sanction on Wednesday. The two-year suspension is dated retroactively to June 10.
Mendes, 31, was flagged for a potential doping violation in June. At that time, the highly ranked 145-pound fighter stated via Twitter, "I didn't do my homework and that was a big mistake. I own it and I'm going to pay for it."
Mendes (17-4) fought Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight championship in 2012 and 2014. He lost the first contest via first-round knockout and the second via unanimous decision, in one of the best fights of the year.
In 2015, he fought Conor McGregor for the interim featherweight championship. Mendes lost via TKO in the second round.
Fighting out of Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California, Mendes is 1-3 in his last four fights, but he has fought a murderer's row of competitors, including Aldo, McGregor and Frankie Edgar.