Hours after news broke that lightweight Gleison Tibau had been provisionally suspended by UFC for failing a United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) out-of-competition drug test, the fighter has released a statement of apology.
Tibau tested positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO), or a common form of blood doping:
I'm not used to an easy life. Since I was a kid, I have fought for everything I've conquered, I have overcome adversities, and I'm really proud of who I am. I face this doping news as another stone that I have to take out of my way as a professional fighter and a correct citizen. As a responsible man that I am, I never believed I ingested something that could fantasize my performances. I make sure I have a healthy life outside the sport, and honest and clean inside the sport. I train hard, I do my best.
However, I can't turn my back to a notification from USADA, an institution with credibility and a mission of stopping dirty game, doping. I will talk to my medical staff in the next days to find out where we made a mistake, and will do what we can in my trial. I fight professionally for 16 years, nine being inside the UFC, and was never in this situation. It tastes bad, like a loss inside the cage, but will be a big lesson, as experience to become more alert as an athlete of what can or can't be done in the sport's anti-doping policy.
I'm deeply sorry for what happened. I want to apologize to everyone involved, the UFC, American Top Team, my teammates and, of course, Abel Trujillo, who I fought on Nov. 7. I'm willing to give him a rematch, if he agrees. I've fought and defeated athletes that failed drug tests, like Polish athlete Piotr Hallman last September, and I know how bad it feels for the opponent.
I can't forget to apologize to the fans, everyone that always supported me. I'm sure this time won't be different, as I'm already getting messages and support through social media.
Fighting MMA is what I know to do, what I've chosen as a professional, my income. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I believe the justice will punish if needed, but also clear me if proven.
To the media, I thank the opportunity for giving me a voice in this complex moment that I'm living now, the toughest in my career. I trust in God so I can go back in action in my career in an honored way, like I always did.
Since EPO accelerates erythrocyte production it also increases oxygen carrying capacity, allowing athletes a significant cardiovascular advantage. "Blood doping" is the process of artificially increasing the amount of red blood cells in the body in an attempt to improve athletic performance.
Tibau, 32, has been a fighter in UFC for the past nine years, going 17-9 over that span. He has never failed a pre or post fight drug test.
His victory over Abel Trujillo at UFC Fight Night 77 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, will likely be overturned and ruled a "No Contest."
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