Lyoto Machida Blasts 18-Month USADA Suspension: It’s Extremely Unfair

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Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida is not happy, and he has a good reason to be. USADA announced last week that Machida has been suspended for 18 months due to an anti-doping violation. Machida did declare his usage of a product containing the banned substance 7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is a steroid, during that sample collection back in April. Machida also confirmed the use of the product and said he did not know it contained a prohibited drug. Once his sample was tested, it came back with an elevated 7β-hydroxy-DHEA to DHEA ratio. USADA said in a statement that Machida’s admission of the substance and his cooperation in the investigation allowed for the reduction of a two-year suspension to 18 months.

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Machida recently spoke with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour about his suspension.

“First of all, I want to say that I am very disappointed in USADA. I think this is all extremely unfair. I take the blame for 7-Keto. It wasn’t a banned substance since I bought it over the counter in a supplement store when it stated on it’s label 60 vegetarian capsules. For me, USADA didn’t give us proper instructions and I think they failed in educating us about everything. To be honest, they only sent me a list of banned supplements after my suspension, two days later. But before, when it was supposed to be, it didn’t happen. When UFC brought USADA in, I thought it was to instruct and educate all the fighters. Instead they came in to punish in an unreasonable fashion. So they came to the academy and I explained everything and disclosed everything during the test. I didn’t know it was banned substance. Unfortunately, they didn’t see my honesty.”

Machida explained why he was actually taking the substance – for stress relief after going on a two fight losing streak (Luke Rockhold at UFC on FOX 15 and Yoel Romero at UFC Fight Night 70).

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“I came from two losses in a row. It was very hard training at that moment and (I was) so stressed. I used that for stress relief. I didn’t know that. My intention was in a good way. How could I take this supplement to the fight if I know it was banned? How? Somebody on a good conscience didn’t do that at all. I took the supplement. I have two witness when I took it in my room and I knew that I would get blood tested anytime. I took them because I didn’t know. So, I take the blame, made mistake. Okay, I get it. But I think it was extremely unfair to punish me like that.”

His suspension is retroactive to April 8, 2016, so that means that Machida will be eligible to fight again in October 2017.