In a statement released via it’s official website on Thursday, the UFC revealed that Invicta FC featherweight champion Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino has been flagged for a potential anti-doping violation by the U.S Anti-Doping Agency.
According to the statement, the potential violation stems from an out-of-competition sample which the Brazilian star submitted on December 5th.
Justino has made plenty of headlines already this year, not only because of her devastating performances inside the cage but also due to her battles with the scales and her complex relationship with the UFC.
The 31-year-old defended her Invicta title once in 2016, stopping Daria Ibragimova back in January, but her other two fights took place on the biggest stage – inside the UFC octagon.
She scored stoppage wins over Leslie Smith and Lina Lansberg, both in 140-pound catchweight bouts. Her desperate struggle to make that weight for the second of those fights garnered a great deal of attention and brought criticism upon the UFC. Many felt that the promotion should have created a women’s featherweight division to showcase Justino’s talents, rather than making the fighter drain herself down to an arbitrary weight.
When the company finally decided to create said division, ‘Cyborg’ was not booked in the inaugural title fight. The UFC justified this by revealing that Justino had turned down the date offered to her. Her response was to disclose harrowing details of her last weight-cut and it’s impact on her health, adding that she needed more time to recover from it’s effects.
There was an outpouring of sympathy for Justino throughout the entire situation, but the public’s attitude toward her is likely to change if USADA find that she is guilty of wrongdoing in this case.
“USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case,” read the UFC statement. “It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed.”
“Consistent with all previous potential anti-doping violations, additional information or UFC statements will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”
Speaking to MMAFighting after the news broke, ‘Cyborg’ suggested that a substance she had been prescribed to aid with her recovery from the negative effects of the aforementioned weight-cut may have caused the positive test.
“What I can say now is that they are talking to my doctor, and I’m calm,” she said. “Everybody knows I’m sick, that I’m recovering from the weight cut I had to do for the fight. What is happening is post-weight cut. Everybody knows I’m sick. They are talking to my doctor to solve this the best way.”
“It’s nothing bad. I’m on medical treatment.”
In 2012, ‘Cyborg’ was stripped of the Strikeforce women’s featherweight title and suspended for one year after testing positive for anabolic steroid stanozolol. She claimed that she had taken the drug without knowing that it was a steroid.