Dos Santos and Nogueira have been on the sidelines after the fighters tested positive for the banned substance hydrocholorothiazide. But, on Monday it’s being reported that USADA’s determined the positive tests were due to contaminated supplements the fighters purchased at Brazilian pharmacies (USADA statement via MMA Fighting):
“We appreciate the cooperation of the athletes and international authorities in getting to the bottom of this situation, as it will hopefully prevent these problems from occurring in the future,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart was quoted saying. “It’s unacceptable that these compounding pharmacies produced contaminated supplements for the public. And it’s another unfortunate example of why athletes must use extreme caution if using nutritional supplements. All too often, supplement products contain undeclared substances, including prohibited drugs, that can be dangerous to an athlete’s health. We are doing all we can to ensure that these types of suppliers are held accountable for introducing dangerous products like these into the marketplace.”
“The rule recognizes that supplements can be a risk and also guards against unfounded and unfair reductions by requiring a thorough investigation of all claims of ‘contamination. The rule also ensures that athletes are not overly penalized when they have been diligent in what they use, and when it is proven the source of the positive is from a contaminated product, like in these cases.”
As a result of the findings, both dos Santos and Nogueira have received, reduced, six month suspensions and both fighters are clear to fight again, immediately. Marcos Rogerio de Lima, who tested positive for hydrocholorothiazide and anasatrozole as a result of the tainted supplements, has also received a reduced, six month term.
So, this is big news for all three men. But in particular, it’s huge for Nogueira, who is 41 year’s old now, and can’t afford to be hit with say a two year suspension at this stage of his career. The accomplished fighter was scheduled to fight Jared Cannonier last December, when he was informed of the USADA flag.
Dos Santos, meanwhile, was supposed to fight Francis Ngannou last September. So, it will be interesting to see who the UFC taps to fight the former heavyweight champ next, and when.