Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos (18-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) was finally cleared to return back into competition after accepting a six-month suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Dos Santos was set to fight former UFC title challenger Francis Ngannou at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Canada. However, he was tested positive for a banned diuretic on August 10 which carries a potential one-year suspension under the UFC’s anti-doping program. The sanction was reduced to six months as Dos Santos proved the test was caused by a legal tainted supplement.
Dos Santos has been out of action since eight months now, with his suspension being ended in February. Does Santos is frustrated that the sanctioning process took longer than the suspension itself.
“I am not a cheater,” dos Santos tells ESPN. “Since the first day we found out about this, we have cooperated with USADA and done everything they’ve asked or suggested to prove this was not intentional doping. It’s taken a really long time.
“We want to know the real results of fights, but in a case like this, with a diuretic, I think they should have allowed me to continue my life until they proved it was my fault. If they prove that, they can do whatever they want. But if I prove I’m innocent, I’m here for almost nine months, doing nothing with my life. I want to keep fighting for a long time, but I don’t have any time to lose.”
Dos Santos used to get his supplements through Farmacia Abalitica in Brazil under the supervision of his specialist Dr. Maria Amelia Bogea. After his failed drug test, Dos Santos immediately submitted multiple supplements to be tested for contamination. The supplements were eventually tested and in December USADA confirmed that several bottles were in fact contaminated with hydrochlorothiazide.
“I was happy when those results came back, because I thought it was done,” dos Santos said. “They would see it’s not my fault and I could resume fighting. But then, they started to say other things, like maybe I could have contaminated them on purpose. I said, ‘My God, I’m not a chemist.’
“When they found my supplements were contaminated, it was already four months. Now it’s been another four months for them to figure the rest out, and finally find the truth.”
Dos Santos thinks the system should be reworked to avoid this kind of situation.
“I think USADA needs to consider what substance they find,” dos Santos said. “If it is not a very bad drug, they shouldn’t pull you from a fight. If they haven’t proved it is your fault, they shouldn’t pull you.
“If I am guilty, do whatever you want to me. But I knew they wouldn’t do that, because I am not a cheater. It’s been hard. You are considered guilty before being judged.”