Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is known for taking matters into its own hands and laying down the hammer for any and all fighters who fail a drug test or violate the company's Code of Conduct (read it).
But in what may very well be a first, the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion has rescinded a punishment, as the ZUFFA-owned company has announced that it will take back the 12-month suspension that was levied against Cung Le after he tested positive for human growth hormone (HGH) following his technical knockout (TKO) loss to Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night 48 on Aug. 23, 2014 in Macau, China.
According to a statement from UFC, after further testing of his Le's blood samples, there was not enough evidence to support that he had taken any performance-enhancing drug (PED), despite the fact the his HGH levels were indeed elevated.
Check it out:
At UFC Fight Night Macao on August 23rd, UFC contracted with an independent drug testing laboratory in Hong Kong to perform urinalysis testing on all fighters on the card. Additionally, UFC requested the laboratory to test blood samples from 4 fighters for human growth hormone (HGH), erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone.
One of the athletes who had his blood tested was Cung Le. The laboratory results from Le's blood test were sent to the UFC and showed that his blood had a total HGH level outside the reference range. Based on such results, UFC officials determined that Le had violated his promotional agreement and the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy.
Consequently, UFC decided that Le should be suspended from unarmed combat competition for 12 months.
Following the announcement of Le's suspension, UFC officials have been provided with medical advice regarding the elevated total HGH present in Le's system. In accordance with such medical advice, UFC has determined that Le's elevated total HGH by itself does not prove that he took performance-enhancing drugs before the August 23rd bout. As a result, UFC has informed Le that his suspension is rescinded.
Le had requested an appeal of his suspension, and was entitled to arbitrate the drug test results and suspension. However, based on the lack of conclusive laboratory results, UFC officials deemed it appropriate to immediately rescind the suspension without the need for further proceedings.
The UFC organization has always been a leader when it comes to testing for performance-enhancing drugs in combat sports. All UFC athletes know they are subject to drug testing by an applicable state athletic commission, an international governing federation, or by an independent laboratory contracted by the UFC when no regulatory body is overseeing the event. 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.
Move along, nothing to see here.
Since the suspension, Le has yet to comment publicly about the incident, though he wasn't short of words when explaining his muscular physique (pic) ahead of his pivotal middleweight showdown against "The Count."
We know you have plenty to say about this interesting turn of events, so sound off in the comments section below.