UFC bantamweight figher Francisco Rivera has been punished severely by USADA after testing positive for Clenbuterol.
Following a hearing late last year, USADA has now officially announced that Rivera has been slammed with a four-year suspension from the sport, retroactive to July of 2016 when the fighter was first flagged after the illegal substance showed up in a urine test.
Rivera had attempted to argue that he’d inadvertently ingested the substance due to tainted meat while vacationing in Mexico – a defense that other fighters such as Augusto Montano and Li Jingliang have previously managed to use in order to avoid being suspended.
however, USADA dismissed Rivera’s attempt to follow suit, concluding that, “the clenbuterol levels detected in [Rivera’s] sample were inconsistent with what could be expected from meat contamination,” while also noting that Rivera had been, “unable to provide independently verifiable evidence to support his claim that he had traveled to Northern Mexico and ingested meat in the days leading up to the relevant sample collection.”
USADA also claimed that, “several pieces of evidence presented by Rivera to USADA and the arbitrator had been falsified to support the athlete’s claims that the substance had originated from contaminated meat in Mexico,” which has led to his punishment being even more severe than it might otherwise have been.
Rivera holds a 4-6-1 record in the UFC, but given that he’s not out until August of 2020, by which stage he’ll be 39-years-old, it now seems highly doubtful that he’ll get the opportunity to add to that in the future.