UFC's Cris Cyborg flagged by USADA for out-of-competition sample failure

Additional notes from Dave Meltzer / Story updated at 10 PM EST

Unfairly or not, UFC star Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino never fully escaped the shadow of a failed drug test several years ago despite not failing any tests since then.

On Thursday, that shadow got a bit longer as the female star was flagged by USADA for an out-of-competition sample taken on December 5th, and faces a maximum one-year suspension.

Justino was last seen destroying Lina Lansberg in September as the headliner on a UFC Fight Night show in Brazil, her second UFC victory in as many fights.

From the UFC’s statement:

“USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. 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.”

USADA has confirmed the substance she failed for was spironolactone, used for treatment of low potassium levels in the blood as well as extreme cases of female acne, as well as for edema from people with congestive heart failure.

Her boyfriend and manager said she was taking the diuretic prescription as treatment for the harsh weight cut she endured for the Lansberg fight. He said the drug is for treatment of kidney issues and blood pressure, and that she is under medical supervision and her doctor is already in contact with USADA. 

An hour or so after the news broke, Justino talked to MMAFighting.com about the issue:

“What I can say now is that they are talking to my doctor, and I’m calm. 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.”

The timing of all this is interesting considering she was the focus of an ESPN Outside The Lines feature this past weekend on her weight-cutting and her feelings toward the UFC as a result.

On December 17, 2011, Justino tested positive for the steroid stanazolol in a test taken after her Strikeforce featherweight title defense against Hiroko Yamanaka in San Diego, announced in January 2012. She had won the fight in 16 seconds, but the match was changed to a no contest. She was stripped of her championship and suspended for one year.

Justino was expected to eventually be the star of the UFC’s new women’s featherweight division in 2017, but she wasn’t able to make weight for February, resulting in Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie battling for the inaugural women’s featherweight title instead.

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