Lyoto Machida has finally been punished for a failed drug test back at UFC On FOX 19 in April, with USADA handing the former light-heavyweight champion an 18 month suspension.
Machida tested positive for the steroid 7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in an out-of-competition test in the build-up to his middleweight fight with Dan Henderson at the event.
However, there were mitigating circumstances, as Machida claims to have been unaware that the substance he had been taking was on the banned list, and had actually declared it to a USADA official prior to his failed test.
As such, Machida’s ban was reduced from two years to 18 months, and with the suspension being retroactive from April 8th that means he won’t be able to get back into the Octagon until October of 2017.
“I’m here to tell you that I was caught by surprise by this news,” Machida wrote on Facebook. “It has been very difficult for me. I’ve trained a lot for this fight, I’ve dedicated a lot with all my teammates. I want to tell you that I really didn’t know about this substance, so I listed it on my declaration form amongst everything else I was taking, and this substance was recently banned in 2016, so I take the blame for not knowing that, and I’d like to say I’m really sorry and apologize to my fans, teammates, and my family… I always try to play by the book, but unfortunately this happened.”
By the time he’s eligble to return, ‘The Dragon’ will be 39 years-old and will be coming off back-to-back losses in the Octagon, having been stopped by two of the division best, Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero, inside the distance in 2015.