For the most part, once United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA) flags a fighter for a potential doping violation, he or she is already guilty in the court of public opinion before getting the chance to prove his or her innocence. And if you’re a multiple-time offender like Cris Cyborg, benefit of the doubt -- fair or not -- is clearly out the window.
So after the current Invicta FC Featherweight champion was notified of a potential USADA violation earlier today (Dec. 22, 2016), you knew the gavel was being slammed down by every judge, jury and executioner around the mixed martial arts (MMA) community. But, according to Cyborg, she is innocent, declaring (via Facebook) that she was indeed on a medical prescription from her doctors -- as this rep claimed — and that the substance in question, Spironolactone, is not to enhance performance.
I have been notified today by USADA of a potential violation stemming from an Out of Competition Sample collected Dec. 5 2016. USADA is an independent administrator of the UFC Anti Doping policy and will be responsible for the review and any sanctioning if imposed.
It has been brought to my attention that my recent sample contained a banned substance known as Spironolactone. The substance is part of a therapeutic treatment being administered to me by doctor that started the 26th of September and is suppose to last for a period of no less than 90 days, requiring blood exams at the completion. In addition to the treatment administered to me by Dr Ulyssea M Da C O Pinto (CRM-PR19062/CRM-RJ 30150-9/CRM SC 2740/ CRM -RO 2630) I was given a medical suspension by her not to enter into competition style training or weight cutting practices during the period of recovery. It is for those reasons why I declined the UFC fight Feb. 11th 2016 for the first 145lbs belt.
I am proud to be a member of USADA, and was the first fighter to complete 1 year of testing under USADA programs before competing in UFC competition. I have been tested 14 times since entering the program, twice in Q4 in 2016 and have never had a flagged sample. My Dr. is experienced with USADA testing and informed me there were no additional steps needed for approval with the associated treatments given to me following my UFC Brasilia fight. we are being fully cooperating with USADA at this time and have already started the process of applying for a retroactive therapeutic use exemption.
For my fans who are disappointed in the news, I am sorry. You can feel confident that the substance they are inquiring about is not for performance enhancing use, and is needed for my specific treatments. (International Medical Codes CID E 87.6, CID 87.8, CID E 44.0, CID N 83.2, CID 115.9, CID Z73.3 CID E 06.3) Sept. 24. Feel confident that I am a clean athlete.
It is my hope that my experiences will continue to bring awareness to the dangers of extreme weight cutting. I cut weight 3 times in 8 months during 2016 competing twice at 140lbs. It is because of the measures needed to make the required 140lbs weight limit Sept 24 that my body is needing the on-going medical treatment. I am glad the UFC has created the 145lbs division and look forward to fighting for the belt once my body is recovered and ready to compete. Additional information or statements will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
WebMD has the word as to what Spironolactone is used for:
Spironolactone is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems. It is also used to treat swelling (edema) caused by certain conditions (such as heart failure, liver disease) by removing excess fluid and improving symptoms such as breathing problems. This medication is also used to treat low potassium levels and conditions in which the body is making too much of a natural chemical (aldosterone). Spironolactone is known as a "water pill" (potassium-sparing diuretic).
As one seasoned MMA reporter pointed out, the substance is clearly on the banned list. And since there is another list on the WADA website (see it here) that details every banned substance, a simply bit of research from Team Cyborg would have gone a long way from preventing this from happening.
As far as the doctor’s order to not compete or cut weight for an extended period of time, if they were indeed given to Cyborg -- and then subsequently passed along to Dana White and Co. -- then all of this other backlash could have been kept to a minimum, too.
Nevertheless, White is adamant he wasn’t given a reason (prior to the fact) other than she needed more time to fight, which is why Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie are now slated to compete for the first-ever UFC’s women’s Featherweight title at UFC 208 on Feb. 11, 2017, in Brooklyn, New York.