Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino is free to fight once again.
The Brazilian UFC fighter and Invicta featherweight champion received notice of a USADA violation last December which could have led to a potential multi-year ban from the sport. However, Cyborg announced shortly after the news broke that the violation in question could be easily explained by her physician and that she was in the process of submitting the necessary paperwork to avoid a potential ban.
Two days following Germaine de Randamie winning the UFC’s newly-instated women’s featherweight title, Cyborg received the news she was looking for — she had been given a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for Spironolactone, a diuretic which was legally prescribed by her physician.
On a recent editon of Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Cyborg explained that despite knowing she hadn’t ingested any illegal substances she lost sponsorships as a result of the USADA investigation.
“It was a tough time, but I knew I did nothing wrong, I had not cheated”, Justino said. “I lost a lot of public appearances, I lost sponsors, during the two-month investigation. But I’m happy, everything’s great now, and I have to say thank you to my team, to my lawyer, thank you to Jeff Novitzky who works for UFC who helped me and my team go through everything in the process.”
The 14-1 fighter, who hasn’t lost since her professional debut, went on to say that public scrutiny into the story led many to believe that she was guilty. She listed UFC commentator Joe Rogan among those who commented on the matter without being privy to all the facts.
“People judge before. The problem is that some media, they don’t know what’s going on. And a guy like Joe Rogan, who has six million followers [on Twitter], and these guys say I cheated and that I’m going to be banned for life, and then people believe that. People don’t wait to see the results, they judge.
“I was really stressed about everything, because I did a mistake one time in my life, and then I learned a lot of things about this mistake,” she said. “And the one thing I learned the first time, just some people stay with you. This time, same thing. These are the people I really trust, who stay with me, and I appreciate everyone.”
Now that Cyborg’s fight career has been unpaused, it will undoubtedly lead to speculation as to a featherweight title match between Cyborg — long considered the best female 145-pound fighter in the world — and de Randamie, though the Dutch national has said that she feels she owes Holly Holm a rematch following the controversy which surrounded their bout.
Whatever way you boil this down this down, the de Randamie/Holm/Cyborg trifecta could be the shot in the arm that the UFC’s new division needs to really take off.