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Lyoto Machida suspended 18 months by USADA for UFC anti-doping violation

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Lyoto Machida's sanction has finally come down.

USADA suspended the former UFC light heavyweight champion for 18 months due to a UFC anti-doping violation, it was announced Wednesday. The suspension is retroactive to April 8, 2016, so Machida will be eligible to compete again in October 2017.

The popular Brazilian fighter declared his usage of a product containing the banned substance 7-keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) during that sample collection back in April. Machida confirmed use of the product and said he did not know it contained a prohibited drug. The substance 7-keto-DHEA was listed as an ingredient, so it was not a tainted supplement situation.

USADA tested Machida's sample and it came back with an elevated 7β-hydroxy-DHEA to DHEA ratio, per the release. USADA said that Machida's admission of the substance and his cooperation in the investigation allowed for the reduction of a two-year suspension to 18 months.

The substance 7-keto-DHEA is listed under "anabolic agents" in the WADA Code. It is supposed to increase metabolism, weight loss, and have anti-aging effects.

Machida's fight with Dan Henderson, which was supposed to take place at UFC on FOX 19 in April, was pulled after Machida admitted use of the product. The decision came down just three days prior to the bout.

Machida (22-7) has lost two straight after a run toward top contender status in the UFC's middleweight division. He fell to Chris Weidman at UFC 175 in July 2014 in a title bout. Machida, 38, beat Rashad Evans for the UFC light heavyweight title in 2009 and held it until 2010. "The Dragon" remains one of the most well respected fighters in the UFC and a future Hall of Fame candidate.