Yoel Romero (pictured), today is your lucky day. On Monday, the United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA), the independant third-party company the UFC hired in July to conduct their year-round random drug tests, announced Romero will only be suspended six month’s following December 18’s flunked drug exam.
The USADA initially reported on January 12 that the 38-year-old “potentially” failed his out-of-competition screening and placed him on a provisional suspension, but didn’t reveal until today that the substance that was discovered in the UFC middleweight’s system was Ibutamoren, a growth hormone secretagogue, a prohibited substance in the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which adopted the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.
Romero denied any wrongdoing from the jump and appealed the positive result claiming contamination.
Romero provided the USADA the all dietary supplements he consumed at the time of testing. Although Ibutamoren was not listed on any of the supplement’s labels, preliminary testing conducted on one of the products indicated that it did in fact contain Ibutamoren.
Even though Romero unknowingly used the banned substance, he is still responsible for what goes into his body.
“This case clearly demonstrates some of the dangers inherent to supplement use,” said USADA’s Special Advisor on Drugs and Supplements, Dr. Amy Eichner. “When considering whether to incorporate supplements into a training plan, it is vitally important that athletes exercise the upmost care in order to avoid making a decision that could endanger their eligibility, reputation or general health and wellness.”
Under the UFC’s new policy, first-time offenders for performance-enhancing drug will receive a two-year ban, four years with “aggravating circumstance.” The suspension is doubled for the second offense and double of the second penalty on the third offense.
Marijuana and other recreational drugs will only be tested in-competition. These failed screenings will result in a one-year suspension, two years for aggravating circumstance. The suspension is doubled for the second offense and double of the second penalty on the third offense.
Romero took a split decision victory over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza on December 12 at UFC 194. Because he was clean on his fight night test, which was also conducted by the USADA, that win is not in jeopardy of being overturned to a no contest.
Romero is eligible to return to action July 12, six months after the USADA slapped him with his provisional suspension.