UFC’s Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos Suspended For One Year After Failing Drug Test

UFC fighter Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos has been suspended from the sport for one year by USADA after testing positive for the banned substance Ostarine.

Zaleski dos Santos and his team have strongly denied that the fighter intentionally took the substance, blaiming it instead on a tainted supplement.

Of course we here such statements often, but there have been a spate of fighters being flagged for Ostarine in recent years that have been traced back to supplements, with even notable stars like Sean O’Malley, Marvin Vettori and Amanda Ribas all having had issues with it.

Zaleski dos Santos’ positive test had resulted in the cancellation of his fight with Mounir Lazzez back in April and his team have been trying to prove his innocence since in the hope of getting a reduced sentence as others have had in the past, but it seems that complications have now left them with no choice but to ride out the remainder of the suspension.

The 35-year-old has been competing in the UFC for seven years and holds a 9-3 record, including a seven-fight winning streak between 2016-2019.

Below you can read a lengthy statement from the fighter’s manager Tiago Okamura explaining in more detail what happened and how they’ve been working behind the scenes to try to prove his innocence.

“On April 8th,2022 Elizeu Zaleski was contacted by USADA about an adverse finding in an out-of-competition urine test he had given on march 14th. The sample had shown traces of Ostarine under 1 ng/ml which could indicate contamination on some supplements Elizeu had used previously.

Facing a 1-year suspension for something we knew he had not done we started talking to USADA and the UFC (Jeff Novitzky and Donna Marcolini) about the case and what could be done to get a better understanding of where the intake of Ostarine could have come from. Once the B Sample was tested and had the same result it was certain that there was no mistake, somehow Ostarine had gotten into Elizeu´s system and we needed to find out how. Elizeu has been in the USADA system since he first entered the UFC, 7 years ago, and he has never tested positive for anything, he has always been a model athlete when it comes to USADA compliance. So the positive test came as a surprise to all of us, and we knew something must have happened since him knowingly taking Ostarine didn’t make sense.

Going through his supplements we found 3 that could have contamination, 2 compound ones, and 1 that was not certified. Elizeu still had some left on the original packaging of all 3 and they were sent to the accredited lab in Rio de Janeiro for testing. After a few weeks, we had the news we were hoping for, in one of the compound supplements traces of Ostarine were found. At that moment we were relieved, expecting that the positive result was all we needed to clear Elizeu out of this situation. But unfortunately, that was not the case. After the result, USADA contacted the Pharmacy, Elizeu, and the doctor who had prescribed the compound supplements. The talks with Elizeu and the doctor went as expected but the Pharmacy denied compounding ostarine and later questioned the tested sample and even the packaging it was sent to the lab in.

With the Pharmacy denying the results and the fact they mixed ostarine we came to a standstill, Elizeu´s and the Doctor’s word against the Pharmacy´s word. Unfortunately, there is no reason for the Pharmacy to admit their mistake to USADA since they have no jurisdiction over any Brazilian pharmacy and especially because Ostarine is no longer a legal substance and its compounding has been prohibited by ANVISA (Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency). After almost 6 months of fighting to clear his name with USADA and reduce his suspension, we are now stuck. We did everything that was requested but we cannot make the pharmacy comply.

Elizeu is now facing a year without competing and earning because of this contamination and even though we might have lost the battle in the USADA system we will now move the battle to another field as someone will have to be responsibilized for this mistake and the impact it is having in Elizeu´s life and career.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously FightOfTheNight.com) in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.