Cris "Cyborg" Justino will spend one year of her prime on the sidelines, the result of the California state athletic commission (CSAC) voting to uphold her suspension stemming from a positive steroids test last December.
It was all smiles for Cyborg on December 17, when she needed just 16 seconds to TKO Hiroko Yamanaka in her return following an 18-month layoff, but the good times didn't last when she was informed she tested positive for stanozolol after the bout. In her Monday hearing, she didn't contest the results but said she had been given the supplements by a member of her coaching staff.
In her remarks, Cyborg said she didn't condone the use of performance-enhancing drugs in MMA, and her attorney noted that they have taken steps to have her tested monthly and make sure the supplements she will take in the future won't contain any banned substances.
Their arguments, however, didn't lead to any leniency from CSAC in confirming their original one-year penalty and a $2,500 fine, which her lawyer said she has already paid. A motion by commissioner John Frierson to reduce the suspension to six months was denied.
The punishment effectively means that Cyborg (10-1, 1 no contest) will have lost nearly 30 months of her career to contracts snafus and the suspension while arguably in her athletic prime (she turns 27 in July). Her sole fight from July 2010 until the time her suspension is up in December 2012 is the bout against Yamanaka, which will go down in the record books as a no contest.
Prior to the positive test, Cyborg had been one of the most feared fighters in any division in MMA, finishing five of her six opponents while fighting for major promotions before the bout with Yamanaka. There had also been a growing cloud of suspicion around her for her muscular build, but as she noted during the hearing, she has been tested many times and never had a positive result until her last fight.
Cyborg said the supplement that contained stanozolol came from a coach who also assisted her with nutrition. She believed it would help her to lose weight but did not know it was banned. She said she has since removed that person from her team, and now it appears she'll have plenty of time to form a new team around her.
In addition to the fine and suspension, Cyborg was also stripped of the women's featherweight title, which she first won when she defeated Gina Carano back in August 2009.