Diego Sanchez Receives USADA Sanction, UFC Rio Rancho Fight Still On

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Diego Sanchez
Photo Credit: UFC Twitter (@UFC)

Diego Sanchez has been hit with a three-month USADA sanction but his next bout isn’t in jeopardy.

USADA announced that Sanchez accepted a suspension for violating the UFC’s anti-doping policy. Sanchez tested positive for ostarine and S-23. USADA determined that Sanchez was indeed the victim of contaminated supplements.

Sanchez is still scheduled to face Michel Pereira on Feb. 15 at UFC Rio Rancho. Sanchez’s sanction is retroactive from Oct. 26, meaning he’s already off the hook.

Here is USADA’s statement on the matter.

“USADA announced today that Diego Sanchez, of Albuquerque, N.M., has accepted a three-month sanction for a violation of the UFC® Anti-Doping Policy after testing positive for prohibited substances.

Sanchez, 38, tested positive for ostarine and S-23 as the result of an out-of-competition urine sample he provided on December 12, 2019. Ostarine and S-23 are non-Specified Substances in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy and UFC Prohibited List.

During an investigation into the circumstances of the positive test, Sanchez provided containers of products he was using at the time of the test for analysis at the World Anti-Doping Agency-accredited laboratory in Salt Lake City, Utah. Although no prohibited substances were listed on the supplement labels, the analysis revealed that the products contained the selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) for which Sanchez tested positive.

On November 25, 2019, revisions to the UFC Anti-Doping Policy were announced. Under the revised UFC Anti-Doping Policy, if a situation arises where an athlete tests positive and is able to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the cause of the positive test was due to a supplement certified by one of the certifiers in the UFC rules, he or she will not be subject to an anti-doping policy violation and will be permitted to compete after follow-up testing and when there is no performance enhancing benefit in question.

USADA determined that Sanchez’s exposure to these substances began on October 26, 2019, prior to the current UFC Anti-Doping Policy being announced. Although Sanchez was not using a Certified Supplement, he received a reduction to his period of ineligibility because he was able to prove that his positive test was caused by contaminated products and the very low levels detected in the products would not have enhanced his performance.

Under the current and previous version of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, athletes may receive a reduced sanction if they prove their positive test was caused by a contaminated product, but athletes who do not use one of the Certified Supplements designated in the UFC Anti-Doping Policy in light of the clear opportunity and benefit to do so should expect to receive a lengthier sanction. Sanchez’s three-month period of ineligibility began on October 26, 2019, the date he began using the products containing prohibited substances.”

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