Lyoto Machida was suspended by United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for 18 months after it was discovered he took a banned substance prior to his showdown against Dan Henderson, which was set to go down at UFC on FOX 19 last April.
More on that here.
It’s an "extremely unfair" punishment, according to "The Dragon," who appeared on The MMA Hour to express his displeasure with USADA and once again plead his innocence.
"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."
When asked why he was taking 7-Keto DHEA, which is known to assist in weight loss, Machida stated that it was to simply ease stress.
"I came from two losses in a row. I was very hard training at that moment and 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 conscious 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 test 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."
Admittedly, Machida says he took the backlash pretty hard, as he is now seen as a cheater, which he says he is far from, as he has always tried to follow his father’s principles of honor and integrity.
And while "The Dragon" knows he made a mistake by unknowingly taking a banned substance, he feels USADA should've taken the fact that he revealed what he was taking into account. As for appealing the sentence, Machida says he thought about it but ultimately chose not to as he says he couldn’t risk getting the maximum penalty of 24 months if they ruled against him once again.
Machida says he’ll reluctantly accept the punishment, but knows deep down he did nothing wrong.
And judging by this detailed report on 7-Keto DHEA, the substance he took doesn’t really offer anything that enhances his performance.