WBC deems Luis Ortiz was simply taking blood-pressure medication, lifts ban
Luis Ortiz is free to fight again.
The heavyweight contender was scheduled to challenge Deontay Wilder for the WBC heavyweight title last month, but a Voluntary Anti-Doping Association test revealed an adverse finding for the banned substances chlorithiazide and hydroclorothiazide.
Ortiz (27-0, 23 knockouts) and his team contended that he was taking the medications to treat high blood pressure, but the WBC still pulled sanctioning from the bout and it was eventually scrapped, with Wilder instead knocking out Bermane Stiverne in one round.
Now, following a thorough examination of Ortiz by WBC Medical Advisory Committee Chairman Dr. Paul Wallace, it was determined he indeed did need to treat a condition, as claimed. It appears the Cuban’s failure to disclose the medications on a VADA form and apply for a therapeutic use exemption cost him a shot at the heavyweight title.
The 38-year-old’s suspension was lifted Friday (though he’s still banned by the WBA), and he’s eligible to reenter the ratings.
“The WBC concludes that the evidence available to the WBC supports a finding that Mr. Ortiz’ ingestion of high blood pressure medication was directed to the treatment of an ongoing medical condition,” the ruling stated. “Therefore, Mr. Ortiz will continue to be tested based on a specifically designed testing protocol.
“As of the date of this ruling, Mr. Ortiz is available to compete in WBC-sanctioned events, and shall be confirmed in the WBC ratings in a position consistent with the recommendation of the WBC Ratings Committee.”
Ortiz was fined $25,000 and also underwent a battery of tests on his heart.
This was Ortiz’s second failed drug test, but it’s by the wayside now, perhaps simply a clerical error.
The talented heavyweight could, after all, find himself readying for his title shot once again in 2018.