Former PFL light heavyweight champion, Rob Wilkinson, has been excluded from the ongoing 2023 season due to a positive test for a prohibited substance.
Anonymous sources, corroborating an initial report from MMA Mania, confirmed this development to MMA Fighting on Wednesday. The specific substance detected in Wilkinson's system remains unknown. As a result, he has been removed from the 2023 season and is anticipated to face potential penalties from the Nevada Athletic Commission, as his last competition took place in April within the state.
Originally slated to battle Ty Flores in the co-main event at the PFL 4 card on June 8, Wilkinson will likely be replaced by experienced light heavyweight Dan Spohn.
Wilkinson joins a growing list of PFL fighters eliminated from the season, as the Nevada Athletic Commission had previously flagged nine athletes for positive drug tests, including Wilkinson's previous opponent, Thiago Santos. Santos tested positive for clomiphene, a substance universally banned for athletes, and currently awaits an adjudication agreement with the commission while serving a temporary suspension.
The commission is slated to convene a meeting in June, during which it is highly probable that Wilkinson will be subjected to sanctions in light of his positive drug test.
The 2023 season has been fraught with disappointments for the PFL, as a total of 10 fighters have now been disqualified due to positive drug tests.
Wilkinson emerged as one of the most notable figures from the 2022 season, delivering an impressive performance by dominating his opponents with four consecutive victories, all of which concluded via knockout or TKO. His remarkable run culminated in securing the coveted $1 million prize in the finals.
However, Wilkinson's triumph was followed by a unanimous decision win over Santos in April, and he now finds himself potentially facing consequences for his failed drug test.