Though she flunked a drug test in December, Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino will not face any disciplinary action from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Shortly after news of her positive test broke, Justino admitted using the banned substance Spironolactone, a diuretic, but claimed that there were legitimate medical reasons for that use. She subsequently applied for a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE).
Per a statement released to their website on Friday, USADA are now satisfied with Justino’s story. Thus, they have granted the fighter an exemption and cleared her of any wrongdoing.
“After a thorough investigation of the circumstances that preceded her positive test, which included a comprehensive review of Justino’s documented medical history, USADA accepted Justino’s explanation that her use of Spironolactone began in late September, following her bout at UFC Fight Night Brasilia, and was in accordance with her physician’s recommendation for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition,” read the statement. “Nonetheless, because Spironolactone is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, USADA advised Justino that her use of the medication without a valid TUE violated the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Accordingly, Justino applied for a TUE to authorize her use of the medication, with retroactive effect.”
“USADA recognizes that over the course of a career, athletes may experience illnesses or medical conditions that require the use of a particular medication for proper treatment. While athletes are educated and encouraged to apply for a TUE in advance of using a prohibited substance or method, the UFC Anti-Doping Policy permits athletes to file for retroactive TUEs where the use of a prohibited substance or method was medically justified. Athletes are cautioned, however, that applying retroactively is at their own risk and the only guaranteed way to avoid an anti-doping policy violation for using a prohibited substance or method is by obtaining a TUE prior to the use of a prohibited substance or method.
“Under the UFC TUE Policy, to receive approval of a TUE, athletes must submit medical records demonstrating a verifiable medical diagnosis and legitimate medical need for the requested medication in accordance with the applicable WADA guidelines. At least two members of USADA’s independent TUE Committee (TUEC) – comprised of medical experts with various areas of expertise from around the U.S. – must individually review the TUE application, after which a recommendation is made to USADA as to whether the TUE should be granted or denied.
“In the case of Justino, the application for a TUE was granted because the athlete had an unequivocally diagnosed chronic medical condition for which the use of Spironolactone is the appropriate standard of care. Further, it was determined that the athlete and her medical team pursued and exhausted all non-prohibited alternatives and that the low dose of the medication is consistent with best medical practice to treat her condition and would return the athlete to a normal state of health without providing a performance-enhancing benefit.”
As a result of their findings, the agency have also lifted the provisional suspension handed down to the 31-year-old Brazilian just before Christmas, freeing her to return to competition.
And, rather unsurprisingly, Cyborg is already trying to line up a big fight.
On Saturday last, Germaine de Randamie became the first ever UFC women’s featherweight champion after taking a controversial decision over former bantamweight titlist Holly Holm at UFC 208 in Brooklyn. UFC president Dana White had previously suggested that Cyborg, should she be cleared of the potential anti-doping violation, would receive the first crack at the new champion. Following the fight, however, De Randamie claimed that she might have to undergo surgery before returning to the octagon.
With the dutch striking ace possibly looking at some time on the sidelines, Justino has focused her attention elsewhere.
Just two weeks into the new year, at an event aired live on UFC Fight Pass, Australia’s Megan Anderson claimed the Invicta FC women’s interim featherweight title by disposing of Canada’s Charmaine Tweet inside two rounds. Still the true Invicta FC women’s featherweight champion, Cyborg feels that a unification bout with Anderson is the most logical fight her right now and she took to Twitter to call out the rangy 27-year-old on Friday night. She also suggested that the bout be added to the UFC 212 card, which takes place on June 3rd in Rio de Janeiro.
— @CrisCyborg Grand Slam Champion (@criscyborg) February 17, 2017