For international events in territories that have no localized sanctioning body, the UFC self-regulates its events and hires a third party laboratory to conduct drug testing. The UFC did that in Saitama, hiring a company to drug test all of the fighters on the card, according to UFC officials.
“In those cases where regulatory oversight is unavailable, UFC voluntarily chooses to adhere to the highest level of athlete health and safety protocols similar to if the event were being held in the state of Nevada,” read a statement from the promotion.
Tanaka’s pre-fight urine test came back positive for ephedrine and pseudoephedrine, which are stimulants prohibited in competition by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code.
Tanaka admitted to taking over-the-counter allergy medication prior to the fight. Both substances are common in many allergy medications.
Undefeated prior to UFC Fight Night 52, Tanaka lost his fight against Kyung Ho Kang in a Fight of the Night performance in Japan. The award is accompanied by a $50,000 post-fight bonus, but Tanaka, pursuant to the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy, will now have to forfeit the bonus.
He will also serve a nine-month suspension and must pass a drug test prior to returning to competition.