Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos was popped by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) last August after testing positive for the banned diuretic Hydrochlorothiazide, commonly used as a masking agent.
But “Cigano” maintains his innocence.
In fact, the veteran slugger considers himself a victim because he’s unable to trace the substance back to its source. That made Dos Santos question the purpose of USADA, which also nabbed fellow Brazilian Lyoto Machida back in April 2016.
From his conversation with Combate:
“At first I was devastated. I’ve been in favor of USADA, I’ve always said how much I support it, how much I want a drugless sport, a fair sport. I’ve always been clean, so my mind is at ease. Everything is under investigation, now, but that’s another problem, because I have no idea where this came from and it’s up to me to prove my innocence and that’s kind of weird. At first I used to think ‘Why is USADA there? For cheaters or for the ones who play by the rules end up as victims?’ I’m obviously a victim of a situation that I don’t what it is. I’m getting major support from USADA and from the UFC in my search for answers. This not knowing is absurd, it eats you up inside, it’s like tearing your soul apart. I’ve always been very vocal about all this, but now the only thing I ask myself is if USADA is there for cheaters or for innocent people who end up in this situation.”
He’s not the only one asking these questions.
Dos Santos was pulled from his UFC 215 showdown against Francis Ngannou in the wake of his disappointing news, but “The Predator” has since moved on to challenge Alistair Overeem at the UFC 218 pay-per-view (PPV) in Detroit (details).
“Cigano” will remain on the sidelines while USADA investigates his case. Depending on the findings, arbitration and its corresponding punishment are likely to happen at some point later this year, or perhaps first-quarter 2018.