UFC welterweight Hector Lombard received a one-year suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Monday stemming from his failed drug test at UFC 182. Lombard was also fined his entire win bonus and 33-percent of his show money, representing a total fine of $70,490. His unanimous decision win over Josh Burkman was overturned into a no contest.
Lombard tested positive for the anabolic steroid desoxymethyltestosterone (DMT) in a UFC 182 post-fight drug test administered on Jan. 3.
Nevada deputy attorney general Christopher Eccles on Monday designated DMT as a "very effective, powerful steroid" which Lombard did not contest was found within his sample.
"I cannot find the proper words to describe how I feel at the moment," an emotional Lombard stated prior to his hearing. "I have let down the UFC, Dana White, Lorenzo (Fertitta), the fans, my family, my sponsors, and countless others. I also owe an apology to my opponent Josh Burkman. As an athlete, I owe my living to maintaining my body at peak physical condition. I trust those around me and within my inner circle to provide me with the proper guidance and wisdom to enable me to perform at my best. However I know that I am ultimately responsible for what I put into my body.
"I have never knowingly put a prohibited substance into my body. That being said, just prior to my fight, I took a substance which I believe to have been acceptable to use. I relied on people I trusted to provide me with the correct information, and I take full responsibility for not getting more information about this product prior to my use.
"I ask this commission to take into account that I have never failed any previous drug test in all my of fighting, including all my years as an Olympic athlete. I am truly embarrassed and sorry for my actions. This will never happen again. As an older fighter, I do not have many fights left in my career, and I hope that I can use this time to help younger fighters to become more educated about people they trust."
Lombard admitted that he handled his own nutrition for his UFC 182 camp and attributed his testing failure to having twice taken Z-pak (Azithromycin) medication prior to his fight in order to help combat the flu, including a dose he ingested on Jan. 2 following UFC 182's weigh-ins.
Lombard denied having pre-existing knowledge that the pills were illegal, stating that he was given them by a friend he trusted prior to arriving in Las Vegas and that he received them under the belief that the medication was "all-natural." Nonetheless, Lombard elected not to disclose the medication to his coaches or NAC officials prior to his fight against Burkman.
"If I would've known they were illegal, I wouldn't have taken it. It was so stupid on my behalf," Lombard said. "I trusted in a person who I should not trust. I messed up."
According to a doctor consulted by Eccles, it is within the realm of possibility for a Z-pak to cause a DMT testing failure similar to Lombard's.
However NAC commissioner Pat Lundvall ultimately rejected Lombard's claims of ignorance regarding the banned nature of the pills, and though the welterweight implored for leniency given his advanced age, the NAC ruled that Lombard be forced to sit out one year retroactive to fight night, meaning the 37-year-old fighter will be inactive until a minimum of Jan. 3, 2016.