Just weeks before his heavyweight matchup with Francis Ngannou, Junior Dos Santos was notified by USADA of a doping violation. Dos Santos was scheduled to fight Ngannou at UFC 215 in early September, however, due to the recent allegations, he has been pulled from the fight.
UFC officials today revealed the news after being notified by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.
Dos Santos tested positive to an out-of-competition drug test that was conducted on August 10th. The details on what he tested positive for are being withheld by USADA, as per their usual procedure as the fighter will appeal the violation.
The UFC released the following statement regarding Dos Santos’ failed drug test.
“Because of the proximity to Dos Santos’ upcoming scheduled bout at UFC 215 in Edmonton, Canada against Francis Ngannou, Dos Santos has been removed from the card and the UFC is currently seeking a replacement,” the UFC’s statement read. “Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”
Following the news of his alleged failed drug test, Dos Santos immediately defended himself, claiming that he never took steroids and is a clean fighter.
“We are still trying to understand the test results, so that we can investigate and determine what happened,” the statement read. “What we know as of now is that Junior Dos Santos has never taken PED’s, has never knowingly used any banned substances and has always supported USADA’s policies and efforts to keep the sport clean. If ever there was a fighter who made his position on this issue unequivocal, it’s Junior. We are confident that that we will be able to figure out what happened, and will provide an explanation once we have one.”
As for Dos Santos’ opponent, Ngannou took to Twitter to express his disappointment in the news.
I'm very very angry!!!
Almost done with training camp and they just announced that my opponent is out for #ufc215
— Francis NGannou (@francis_ngannou) August 18, 2017
Even if he clears his name, the fight between Dos Santos and Ngannou appears to be officially off for UFC 215. The card as it stands still has two world title fights featuring flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and women’s bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes.
Dos Santos last fought for the UFC Heavyweight title back in May against current champ Stipe Miocic. The fight did not goes his way as he was knocked out in the very first round. The 33-year-old Brazilian will have to climb back to the top of the rankings in order to get another shot at the title, and failing a drug test is not the way to do it.
There is no word as of now if the UFC will find a replacement to fight Ngannou, or if they will just push him back to a later event.