Junior Dos Santos still doesn’t understand how he failed a drugs test carried out by USADA.
Back in August, the former heavyweight champion was informed he had failed an out-of-competition test for the banned substance Hydrochlorothiazide, a diuretic which can commonly be used as a masking agent. Within hours of the news, Dos Santos and his team issued a statement strongly denying the use of the drug, and pledged to find out how it got into his system.
He is just the latest in an increasingly long line of UFC athletes to state they’re stunned at receiving such news. According to Dos Santos, he still can’t work out what’s happened.
“Until I got home, I thought it was a prank, I couldn’t believe it,” Dos Santos said, speaking with Brazilian outlet Combate (H/T to BloodyElbow for transcription). “I talked to my wife and she told me USADA had notified me. I said ‘For the love of God, it can’t be possible. What could I test positive for?’ I called up the UFC people the following day and they told me it was a diuretic. It was such a small amount of it, it couldn’t even act as a diuretic in my system. It even took me a while to urinate on the day I had to take the test, so it wasn’t acting as a diuretic that day.
“But they found it and the rule is the same for everyone. Not matter how little of it they found. This certainly shows that there was a contamination. They had nothing else to do but to notify me and pull me out of the fight.”
Dos Santos was originally scheduled to face Francis Ngannou at UFC 215. He was, as is protocol, removed from that card the moment USADA informed the UFC of the test failure. For Dos Santos, the entire affair has left something of a bitter taste in his mouth. A long proponent of a clean sport, Dos Santos can understand why he needs to be involved in the current process, as someone who maintains his innocence though, it can sting somewhat.
“At first I was devastated,” Dos Santos said. “I’ve been in favour of USADA, I’ve always said how much I support it, how much I want a drugless sport, a fair sport. I’ve always been clean, so my mind is at ease. Everything is under investigation, now, but that’s another problem, because I have no idea where this came from and it’s up to me to prove my innocence and that’s kind of weird. At first I used to think ‘Why is USADA there? For cheaters or for the ones who play by the rules end up as victims?’ I’m obviously a victim of a situation that I don’t what it is.
“I’m getting major support from USADA and from the UFC in my search for answers. This not knowing is absurd, it eats you up inside, it’s like tearing your soul apart. I’ve always been very vocal about all this, but now the only thing I ask myself is if USADA is there for cheaters or for innocent people who end up in this situation.”