Junior dos Santos, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Marcos Roger de Lima are all cleared to return to UFC competition following an investigation by USADA into their drug test failures.
Over the span of two months from August to October, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos, light heavyweights Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Marcos Rogerio de Lima were flagged by USADA for potential anti-doping violations, with each man testing positive for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide. After an extensive investigation, all three Brazilians are now cleared to return to competition after serving backdated bans.
In a press release on Monday, USADA revealed that two unnamed Brazilian pharmacies allegedly “produced and sold contaminated supplements that led to the positive tests of three athletes subject to the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy.”
More details follow below:
Unlike retail pharmacies and drugstores, which receive their drug inventories from commercial manufacturers, compounding pharmacies prepare their medications onsite according to specifications contained in a written prescription. In addition to medications, both compounding pharmacies investigated by USADA also produced and sold nutritional supplements, and marketed their products as a safe alternative to mass produced medications and supplements. The pharmacies also claimed to utilize manufacturing processes designed to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination.
Despite their claims, the compounding pharmacies, located in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil, sold contaminated supplements to Junior dos Santos Almeida and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who each tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, and Marcos Rogerio de Lima, who tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide and anastrozole. These substances are prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
After testing supplements the athletes provided to USADA, the WADA-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City confirmed the presence of multiple prohibited substances in the products. Through an ongoing investigation, USADA independently sourced supplements from the compounding pharmacies, which the Salt Lake City laboratory confirmed were also contaminated with hydrochlorothiazide, anastrozole, and several additional prohibited substances. Autoridade Brasileira de Controle de Dopagem (the Brazilian national anti-doping agency) and law enforcement agencies in Brazil assisted USADA’s investigation.
De Lima was the only one who failed for multiple substances, as he also popped for anastrozole, which is an estrogen blocker.
At the time of their respective positive tests, dos Santos was scheduled to fight Francis Ngannou at UFC 215, Nogueira was slated to face Jared Cannonier at UFC on FOX 26, and de Lima was supposed to take on Saparbek Safarov at UFC Rotterdam last September. They were all removed from their bouts and placed under provisional suspension. Their bans were reduced to six months upon completion of the investigation, and their terms have already been served.
Ana Guedes, dos Santos’ attorney, released this statement to MMA Fighting:
“The process has been extremely frustrating for Junior, who has always supported antidoping measures, always supported USADA, and always advocated for a clean sport. Junior was pulled from his planned October bout against Francis Ngannou and has not fought since his May 2017 title challenge against champion Stipe Miocic. While the reduced sanction of six months is less than the one year provided for a first violation of the UFC antidoping policy, the practical reality of such a long investigation coupled with the difficulty of UFC heavyweight matchmaking means Junior will go nearly a year without a fight, it’s unfortunate, it has been very rough on Junior.”
This news shortly follows Josh Barnett being cleared of wrongdoing in arbitration after proving that his positive test for Ostarine was the result of a tainted supplement. The UFC heavyweight is now suing the supplement maker.