Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight Cung Le, who was suspended earlier this week after failing his UFC Fight Night 48 drug test, was caught by surprise when news broke that he tested positive for an excess level of Human Growth Hormone (HGH).
Especially considering he "did not take any performance-enhancing drugs or anything that would cause his natural level of HGH to exceed normal levels."
That's according to the official statement Le released (via MMA Junkie), where he outright denied trying to cheat Michael Bisping in Macau, China, and called into question the reliability of the testing procedures, which have a "high rate of inaccuracy."
"I was completed surprised at the results of my recent drug test. I was informed by the UFC that I passed my pre- and post-fight drug test, as well as the majority of the blood tests with the only abnormality being an elevated level of HGH being determined to be present. I tested negative for anabolics, stimulants, diuretics, masking agents and my testosterone levels were within World Anti-Doping Agency and Nevada State Athletic Commission Approved limits a total of three times over two urine tests and a blood test collected both before and after my fight, which is what makes these HGH result so difficult for me to accept as correct. This has also caused me to call the testing procedures into question. I have been informed that there are many possible reasons for a level of HGH to exceed what is allowed unknowingly and my doctors are researching those possibilities, which may include a much more serious health concern. I have also been informed about the unreliability of the current HGH testing that exists and it's high rate of inaccuracy. I want to reiterate to my fans and the fans of mixed martial arts everywhere that I did not take any performance-enhancing drugs or anything that would cause my natural level of HGH to exceed normal levels."
Is there a chance Le was not doping?
Yes, but he now faces the burden of proof after getting popped by the promotion. In addition, he may have a difficult time convincing the court of public opinion. Not just because he was showing off photos that made the 42-year-old striker look like a college athlete, but because drug use (and abuse) is running rampant in MMA.
That said, are you willing to give him the benefit of the doubt?