When it rains, it pours. After two less notable UFC fighters were issued sanctions over the past couple days, former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos was flagged for a potential anti-doping infraction on Friday.
Dos Santos was slated to meet Francis Ngannou at UFC 215 on Sept. 9 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Whether he appeals the anti-doping violation or not, Dos Santos will not be fighting at UFC 215. Due to the proximity of the event on the calendar, he has been removed from the fight card and the UFC is seeking a replacement to face Ngannou.
“The UFC organization was notified (on Friday) that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Junior Dos Santos of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on August 10, 2017,” read a UFC statement.
“Because of the proximity to Dos Santos upcoming scheduled bout at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Canada against Francis Ngannou, Dos Santos has been removed from the card and the UFC is currently seeking a replacement.”
Dos Santos has alternated between wins and losses over the past several years. He sniffed the UFC heavyweight gold in May, but was unable to wrest the belt from around Stipe Moicic’s waist. Dos Santos has long remained at the top of the division, and a victory over rising star Ngannou would have kept him right at the fore for another title shot, but now he’ll be watching from the sidelines for the foreseeable future.
Ngannou has rocketed up the UFC heavyweight rankings, winning all five of his bouts in the Octagon en route to a 10-1 overall record. As much as he was a steppingstone for Dos Santos, the former heavyweight champ would have represented a significant victory on Ngannou’s resume.
Flyweight champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson headlines UFC 215, putting his belt on the line against Ray Borg, as he attempts to take sole possession of the record for most UFC title defenses.