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Ali Bagautinov tests positive for EPO prior to UFC 174, suspended one year

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Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Recent flyweight title challenger Ali Bagautinov has been suspended for one year after testing positive for Recombinant Human Erythropoietin (EPO) in a June 2nd out-of-competition drug test prior to his championship fight against Demetrious Johnson at UFC 174, British Columbia athletic commissioner Dave Maedel revealed on Thursday.

EPO, one of the four banned substances recently found in Chael Sonnen's system, is typically used as a method to increase athlete stamina and endurance, and is generally believed to hold an extremely short detection window, often less than a single day.

In addition, the British Columbia Athletic Commission tested eight UFC 174 fighters on June 14th. All eight came back clean.

"The focus of the BC Athletic Commission is to ensure fighter safety and maintain the integrity of the sport so athletes are competing on a level playing field," Maedal said.

"All competitors' test results complied with World Anti-Doping Agency Standards subscribed to by the BC athletic commissioner, as well as our anti-doping policies."

Bagautinov (13-3) previously battled drug suspicions stemming from a Russian report that claimed the 28-year-old was banned from the International Sambo Federation in 2012 after testing positive for methylhexanemine -- a report which Bagautinov denied.

Maedal noted that Bagautinov was still allowed to compete on June 14th because the failed results of the June 2nd test "were not available prior to the UFC 174 event due to lab processing times." Bagautinov dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to Johnson on the pay-per-view's main event.

"I'm disappointed to hear that Bagautinov tested positive for EPO," Johnson told MMAFighting.com after hearing of the failed test.

"That's very unfortunate news. But the moral of this story is that I proved on June 14 that you don't need to cheat, you don't need PEDs to be a champion. I am proud to be a clean champion and I believe that talent will beat drugs every time out, just like it did last month in Vancouver."