UFC veteran Gleison Tibau has been provisionally suspended by the UFC after USADA informed them that the lightweight fighter had failed a drug test.

Tibau’s team have since revealed that the 32 year-old tested positive for EPO, a banned drug that increases the users red blood count, giving them greater endurance and aerobic capacity.

At this stage it’s unclear whether Tibau’s failed test is in relation to his latest victory at UFC Fight Night 77 in Brazil on November 7th in which he submitted Abel Trujillo in the first round, or if it’s come about as a result of a random drug test since then, but the former option seems most likely.

What is known for sure is that the UFC’s new stricter anti-doping policy means that Tibau is now facing a potential two year ban from the sport.

Tibau is one of the UFC’s most experienced fighters with well over 20 fights in the Octagon over a nine year period, while his overall career record stands at 34-11.

In a lengthy statement the Brazilian fighter claims he is a clean competitoru and denies purposefully taking EPO, saying that he’ll talk to his medical team to try to establish how he failed the test.

“I’m not used to an easy life. Since I was a kid, I have fought for everything I’ve conquered, I have overcome adversities, and I’m really proud of who I am. I face this doping news as another stone that I have to take out of my way as a professional fighter and a correct citizen. As a responsible man that I am, I never believed I ingested something that could fantasize my performances. I make sure I have a healthy life outside the sport, and honest and clean inside the sport. I train hard, I do my best.

However, I can’t turn my back to a notification from USADA, an institution with credibility and a mission of stopping dirty game, doping. I will talk to my medical staff in the next days to find out where we made a mistake, and will do what we can in my trial. I fight professionally for 16 years, nine being inside the UFC, and was never in this situation. It tastes bad, like a loss inside the cage, but will be a big lesson, as experience to become more alert as an athlete of what can or can’t be done in the sport’s anti-doping policy.

I’m deeply sorry for what happened. I want to apologize to everyone involved, the UFC, American Top Team, my teammates and, of course, Abel Trujillo, who I fought on Nov. 7. I’m willing to give him a rematch, if he agrees. I’ve fought and defeated athletes that failed drug tests, like Polish athlete Piotr Hallman last September, and I know how bad it feels for the opponent.

I can’t forget to apologize to the fans, everyone that always supported me. I’m sure this time won’t be different, as I’m already getting messages and support through social media.

Fighting MMA is what I know to do, what I’ve chosen as a professional, my income. I take full responsibility for my actions, and I believe the justice will punish if needed, but also clear me if proven.

To the media, I thank the opportunity for giving me a voice in this complex moment that I’m living now, the toughest in my career. I trust in God so I can go back in action in my career in an honored way, like I always did.”