We will see the Cuban superstar return very soon.
The UFC middleweight contender Romero was handed a six-month suspension by USADA, the UFC’s anti-doping partner. The suspension was handed down Monday morning and will be retroactive to the date he fought in December against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza at UFC 194. The news comes from MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani.
In December, Romero tested positive for a substance called Ibutamoren, a growth hormone secretagogue. The National Center for Biotechnology Information describes the substance, which is prohibited under the UFC’s anti-doping policy, as stimulating growth hormone release “through a pituitary and hypothalamic receptor.”
Romero (11-1, 7-0 in UFC) denied knowingly taking the substance and has claimed all along that it came from a contaminated substance. USADA said in its release that it had Romero’s supplement tested and Ibutamoren did in fact come up, even though that banned substance was not listed on the product’s label.
“This case clearly demonstrates some of the dangers inherent to supplement use,” USADA’s Special Advisor on Drugs and Supplements Dr. Amy Eichner said in the release. “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. The substance that Romero tested positive for has not been known until now.
Romero decided to go to appeal USADA’s sanctioning, confident that he had not knowingly taken a performance-enhancing drug, and take the case to arbitration. It is rumored that nine-month suspension. Romero’s ineligibility began Jan. 12, 2016, so he’ll be eligible to fight again in June.
“I would like to thank my family, friends, teammates and fans for sticking by me through this ordeal,” Romero wrote in a statement. “With that said, yesterday I agreed to a sanction of 6 months suspension for taking a supplement 5 days after my last win that USADA has confirmed was indeed tainted. My management team and I will be pursuing legal action against the supplement company within the next few weeks. For those of you that believed me, I thank you. For the ones that didn’t, I hope I have given you a reason to believe in hard work. As for the ones that tried to ruin my name, we will meet very soon.”