We’re exactly three days shy of one month since the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced UFC middleweight Yoel Romero (pictured) “potentially” flunked an out-of-competition drug test, and the 38-year-old is still without a resolution as he awaits a likely two-year suspension.
The USADA did, however, provide some clarity as to Romero’s positive result by stating a “prohibitive substance” was discovered in his system. Their initial announcement was extremely vague and left the window open for recreational drugs such as marijuana, as well as performance-enhancing drugs.
“Given that Mr. Romero has publicly discussed his case, we can confirm that he did test positive for a prohibited substance,” the USADA expressed in a statement obtained by 5thRound.com. “At this time we are investigating the circumstances surrounding his positive test to determine the appropriate outcome, in accordance with the rules.
“It is also important to remember that there is a full and fair legal process to handle the adjudication of any case, and all athletes are provided full due process before any decision is reached.”
Romero is claiming that a supplement he consumed was contaminated. Because he “unknowingly” took a banned substance, the “Soldier of God” is praying for a lighter sentence – perhaps just a slap on the wrist…
“I think it’s my responsibility when I take something,” Romero told MMAjunkie.com. “But I think maybe a public warning (would be a fair punishment). When you see the supplement, outside it says it’s clean, you can take it.”
“My whole entire life, I’ve trained very hard. I abstain from a lot of stuff in life. To reach not just the world title, but also to maintain my family. If I would have committed what they’re saying, I’m running the risk that I can’t support my family. I think more about my family than I do a title. I’m conscious that if I take one of these supplements, they’re going to catch me.”
Romero did not disclose which supplement has put his career in jeopardy.
Romero’s defense is hardly unique. In fact, it’s torn directly out of the cheaters-who-were-previously-busted-but-refuse-to-admit-guilt playbook.
The failed exam is a costly one for Romero, not only because he’d be 40 by the time of reinstatement, but most believed December’s win over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza secured him a shot at UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold.