UFC featherweight Yair Rodriguez (13-2, one no contest) won't face Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1-0) until the second Saturday of March at the earliest.
ESPN's Marc Raimondi reported on Thursday that the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) suspended Rodriguez for six months, retroactive to Sept. 8, for a whereabouts violation. That punishment runs through March 8.
While active and in the USADA pool, all fighters are obligated to inform the agency of their location at all times using a smartphone app. Violations of this rule are discovered whenever sample collectors are unable to reach a fighter, and three violations lead to a ban that is typically 12 months.
Raimondi added, though, that USADA lessened the blow delivered because it did not believe Rodriguez was intentionally ducking testing.
Rodriguez, 28, is currently No. 4 in the official UFC rankings among featherweights but hasn't competed in the octagon since a unanimous decision victory over Jeremy Stephens in October 2019. The UFC planned to have Rodriguez battle Magomedsharipov (ranked No. 3) in August until Rodriguez withdrew because of an injury. Hopes that the two could fight in January were squashed due to Rodriguez's suspension.
Magomedsharipov, 29, hasn't lost a pro fight since 2013. He last defeated Calvin Kattar by unanimous decision in November 2019