Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida was unexpectedly pulled from a rematch with Dan Henderson at UFC on FOX 19 in April. During an out-of-competition sample collection, the fighter informed the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, that he had used a banned substance, while unaware that the substance was prohibited.
The fighter apologized on his social network.
“Guys, I just wanted to let you know that I was caught off-guard, too,” wrote Machida in his native Portuguese. “It’s been very hard for me. I trained very hard for this fight. I dedicated myself a lot with my team. I want to tell you that I didn’t know about this substance. It was something that actually declared in my test. I said, ‘No, I’m taking all these things,’ and this substance was banned in 2016.”
Machida declared that he had been taking 7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). The steroid was listed on the packaging, so it was not a tainted supplement, but rather a fighter taking a drug he did not know was prohibited. There was confirmation when Machida’s sample returned with an elevated 7β-hydroxy-DHEA to DHEA ratio.
Now USADA has announced that Machida has accepted an 18-month suspension. This was a reduction from the two-years that is standard for a first-time offense. The suspension is retroactive to April 8, so The Dragon will be eligible to fight again in October of next year.
Machida is currently on a two-fight losing streak, to Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero. He is currently building a Karate school where he will teach alongside his brother Chinzo.