Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos was supposed to be getting ready for a showdown with Francis Ngannou in just over two weeks time, but instead he’s been pulled from the card and now defending his reputation after testing positive for a banned substance.
UFC officials released a statement on Friday revealing that Dos Santos was being yanked from the fight with Ngannou after he was flagged for potential anti-doping policy violation from a drug test administered by USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency).
On Saturday, Dos Santos released a statement regarding the positive drug test via his Facebook page where he doubled down on his belief in competing as a clean athlete, which is something he’s spoken about at length in the past.
“Look, I’m not here to give an explanation. Soon everything will be clear to all of you and no doubts, truth will prevail,” Dos Santos said. “I’m here in respect for all of you guys. I just want to say that this situation is very tough for me, for my team and for my family. I would never cheat. It goes against everything I stand for.
“I play the fair game. We will get to the bottom of this figuring out what happened, learn from it and move on. I hope in the near future, Francis Ngannou and me can face each other and give you guys the show you were expecting for. For now, thank you very much for your support. It means a lot to me and that’s why I’m here.”
In the aftermath of that revelation, Dos Santos’ representatives released a statement revealing the substance that was found in his drug test sample while promising to investigate the possible culprit behind the positive result.
According to the statement, Dos Santos team plans to test two separate supplements that he just recently started taking to find out if it’s possible one of them was tainted with the banned substance.
Dos Santos tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide, which is classified as a diuretic that can aid in excessive water being flushed from the system for weight cutting or to mask other banned substances that may be in the body.
Here’s the statement from his team in full:
“The level of hydrochlorothiazide listed on his USADA result was ‘low.’ Additionally, the specific gravity reading of Junior’s urine sample was 1.025, indicating that the sample was not diluted. We understand the concentrated urine sample to mean that the low level of hydrochlorothiazide in Junior’s system had no diuretic effect on his sample.
We are learning about some recent anti-doping cases where low levels of hydrochlorothiazide have been the result of supplement contamination, and even contaminated ground water. A 2016 study published by the National Institute of Health found that over-the-counter NSAIDs left hydrochlorothiazide traces.
Our goal now is simply to determine the unintended source of the hydrochlorothiazide. To that end, we have identified two nutritional supplements that Junior recently began using – neither of which show hydrochlorothiazide anywhere on their respective labels or ingredient lists – and are working with USADA to test both. Hopefully that gets us answers.
All drug tests that Junior has taken – both prior to and post implementation of the USADA program – have been negative, including blood and urine samples he provided on July 10 of this year. He prides himself on being a clean athlete, and looks forward to resolving this matter.”
Unfortunately due to the timing of the drug test results, Dos Santos will no longer be able to fight at UFC 215 and the promotion is still searching for a replacement opponent to face Ngannou on Sept. 9.