UFC fighter Lyoto Machida has accepted a lengthy suspension from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
USADA announced on Wednesday that Machida had accepted an 18-month suspension for an anti-doping policy violation after declaring the use of a prohibited substance and subsequently testing positive for the use of that substance.
The violation stems from an April 8, 2016, out-of-competition sample collection prior to UFC on FOX 19. Machida declared the use of a product containing 7‐keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (7‐keto‐DHEA) on his sample collection paperwork. 7‐keto‐DHEA is a prohibited substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the WADA Prohibited List.
Upon notice from USADA of his potential violation, Machida immediately confirmed his use of the product, which listed 7-keto-DHEA as an ingredient, and fully cooperated with the subsequent investigation after advising USADA that he did not realize 7-keto-DHEA was a prohibited substance when he used the product.
“I’m here to tell you that I was caught by surprise by this news. It has been very difficult for me,” Machida wrote on Facebook at the time of the initial finding in April. “I want to tell you that I really didn’t know about this substance, so I listed it on my declaration form amongst everything else I was taking, and this substance was recently banned in 2016, so I take the blame for not knowing that, and I’d like to say I’m really sorry and apologize to my fans, teammates, and my family… I always try to play by the book, but unfortunately this happened.”
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Machida’s sample was analyzed at a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited laboratory and reported to USADA for an elevated 7β-hydroxy-DHEA to DHEA ratio, which is consistent with his declared use of a prohibited substance.
Following his admission of using 7-keto-DHEA, Machida was removed from his planned UFC on FOX 19 co-main event bout with Dan Henderson and placed on a provisional suspension.
Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete’s period of ineligibility for using a prohibited substance may be decreased depending on the athlete’s level of fault for the anti-doping policy violation, according to USADA. The UFC Anti-Doping Policy further provides that the prompt admission of an anti-doping policy violation may also be considered a mitigating factor in determining an appropriate sanction. Based on the circumstances of Machida’s violation, USADA determined that a reduction to 18-months from the standard two-year period of ineligibility was justified.
Machida’s 18-month period of ineligibility began on April 8, 2016, the date his positive sample was collected and he declared his use of a prohibited substance. He will be eligible for reinstatement on October 8, 2017.