For many fans, Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko has been something of a breath of fresh air in today’s somewhat stale MMA climate.
The Russian has set himself apart from the pack in recent years, with a wide-open finish-or-be-finished style, as well as his colorful interviews, where he often sounds like a real life Ivan Drago out of Rocky 4.
Do you get frustrated by monotonous bouts and cancelled fights due to injury? He’s had six appearances in Bellator for the last two years, with every bout seeing a finish but one. That one exception was a fringe contender for fight of the year in 2013 against Brett Cooper.
He fights often, he’s all action, and he’s a bit of a character to boot — best of all, nothing seems forced. Oh, and he gets paid crap, as we described here at Caged Insider — $20,000 for his last appearance.
So, sometimes you get the feeling he’s of another era. (Other than the “getting paid crap” part, I guess.)
Well, at least you did up until last month.
At Bellator 133, Alexander Shlemenko tested positive for elevated testosterone. He was suspended immediately, fined $2,500; with the results of his match with Melvin Manhoef overturned from TKO victory to a no-contest.
Shlemenko’s legal team has issued a statement, credit MMA Junkie:
Alexander Shlemenko denies the use of any banned substances, and looks forward to clearing his name at the next meeting of the California State Athletic Commission with his lawyer Howard Jacobs. His representatives have requested and are still awaiting the complete laboratory documentation package from the CSAC, given the extremely unusual and questionable findings that have been initially reported. The document request that has been made is consistent with the types of documents that the testing laboratory used in this case routinely provides – without the necessity for such a request in cases involving the United States Anti-Doping Agency.
It is impossible for Mr. Shlemenko to properly respond to these charges until he is provided with this basic documentation, and it is hoped that CSAC will not withhold such basic documentation.
He could be innocent, of course. Mistakes happen — new drug testing protocols aren’t going to be perfect, just as any other part of officiating and promoting MMA bouts is imperfect.
Maybe it’s just kind of sad, remembering we’re in 2015 again — even watching a Shlemenko fight.