Now eligible to fight again after a six-month suspension, Junior Dos Santos opens up about his ill feelings towards USADA.
In August 2017, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos tested positive for diuretic hydrochlorothiazide, which is part of the USADA banned substance list. This infraction had caused him to be pulled out of his scheduled UFC 215 fight against Francis Ngannou, and subsequently slapped with a suspension.
Things took a turn for the better for “Cigano”, however, when he was given clearance to resume his career in late April. The decision was made after it was found that he, along with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Marcos Rogerio De Lima had taken contaminated supplements that led to their respective drug test failures.
The 34-year-old dos Santos lost eight months of his fighting career because of the incident, and this is something he is holding against USADA, especially since he is assured that he never took anything illegal intentionally.
“They stopped my whole career to investigate the thing,” dos Santos told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour (via MMA Fighting). “I think that goes in the completely opposite direction of the law.”
“I’m innocent until proven guilty. In this case, it’s different — you’re guilty until you’re proven innocent. So, yeah. This is not good, man. Especially in my case, that I knew I didn’t do anything wrong and I was going all through this situation. It was a very bad feeling.”
Fellow former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett shares a similar experience with dos Santos after he was also cleared from his USADA violation in December 2016. And like Barnett, dos Santos is also calling for a change in the system.
“Based on those numbers, on those things, in my mind, USADA would be the organization that knows that I’m not a cheater,” dos Santos pointed out. “But it wasn’t like that. I still went through this whole investigation, this whole scenario and they were putting me as a cheater. It was very bad, man.”
“Now, I hope they can keep a clean sport however they can do that,” he added. “But they have (to have) better rules, better ways to treat the athletes. Because it’s our lives.”
“I hope the system gets better.”
After more than a year in the sidelines, Dos Santos is now scheduled to headline the UFC’s upcoming event in Boise, Idaho on July 14th against former WSOF heavyweight champion Blagoy Ivanov.
Dos Santos’ interview begins at the 1:40:26 mark of the video above.