50°F
weather icon Clear

Letourneau: ‘Disgusting’ Lombard can’t be in her corner

MELBOURNE, Australia — Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s strawweight contender Valerie Letourneau was already facing an uphill battle when she challenges champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the belt in the co-main event of UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Then she found out for sure she’d have to go the cage without her friend and training partner Hector Lombard.

Lombard, a UFC welterweight contender and former Olympian in judo for Cuba, is currently suspended from mixed martial arts competition for a failed drug test.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency, which operates the UFC’s drug testing program, ruled Letourneau would be in violation of the rules under the “prohibited association” clause should Lombard work in her corner while he is suspended.

While the issue has been discussed behind the scenes for several weeks, MMA Junkie reported the official decision this week.

Letourneau, more than a 10-to-1 underdog, didn’t want to go into detail about her disappointment with the situation.

“I don’t want to talk too much about that because it’s nothing positive for me,” she said. “But all I have to say is the job is done. My training was at the gym. The only thing that hurts is that Hector has been so much a part of my improvement and my career in the last three years that I just feel it’s disgusting for him to not be able to be a part of this. But he’ll be in the crowd and he knows how much I care and how grateful I am for how much he has helped me.

“But the work is done. I could go in there with no corner and I can still do my job.”

Lombard tested positive for an anabolic steroid following what was originally a win over Josh Burkman in Las Vegas in January. He is eligible to apply for reinstatement after Jan. 3.

The prohibited association rule bars UFC athletes from working with coaches, trainers, cornermen, managers, agents or others while participating in or preparing for a bout.

Fighters in violation of the rule are subject to a two-year suspension, though they are not found to be out of compliance until they are given notice about the potentially prohibited relationship and given a chance to terminate it.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
Former UFC champ Velasquez says his MMA career is done for now
Former two-time UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez says that he is closing the door on his MMA career to focus on wrestling professionally with the WWE. Velasquez will face Brock Lesnar at the WWE Crown Jewel event on Oct. 31 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
Jorge Masvidal wins big at UFC 244 in New York

President Donald Trump was on his feet as Jorge Masvidal defeated a bloodied Nate Diaz via a TKO before the fourth round of the UFC 244 main event at Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.

Trump takes break from impeachment fight for UFC 244

President Donald Trump took a break from battling the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry to watch another bloodsport Saturday, drawing a mixed response at a UFC match at a raucous Madison Square Garden.

Donald Trump to set aside politics, take in UFC card

Donald Trump is set to return to his hometown of New York City to attend a high-profile UFC match at Madison Square Garden.