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Chad Mendes says failed USADA drug test was due to psoriasis cream

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Chad Mendes has broke his silence regarding his USADA anti-doping violation and two-year suspension.

The former multiple-time UFC top featherweight contender said on "The Drive" radio show Thursday that the substance he tested positive for came from a skin cream he was using to treat plaque psoriasis.

"I've always just accepted it and put it on, not thinking about anything," Mendes said on the Sacramento-area show. "This is one of the cases that it had something in it that was on the USADA quote-unquote banned list. My situation was just kind of bad luck, I feel. Ultimately, I broke the rules. Did I use it? Of course. I didn't try going to USADA and making some BS story and tried to lie my way out of it."

The UFC announced last week that Mendes had been suspended two years by USADA after he tested positive for GHRP-6, a growth-hormone peptide, in an out-of-competition drug test May 17. GHRP-6 is not necessarily performance-enhancing itself, but can stimulate growth hormone production when combined with insulin.

Mendes, 31, said he has suffered from plaque psoriasis, a skin condition marked by itchy red patches, since he was a child. The Team Alpha Male product said he has taken various forms of treatment for it over the years. Mendes said when his drug test came back positive for GHRP-6 he didn't know what it was, went through all of his supplements and then discovered it was an ingredient in the cream.

"One thing i want to clear up to a lot of people calling me ‘roid head or juice head: This isn't even a steroid," Mendes said. "It's a peptide."

Mendes (17-4) said he did not attempt to fight the anti-doping violation. He said he broke a rule and did not want any special treatment. However, Mendes did admit that a two-year ban is a tough thing to swallow.

"Two years is a long time, especially in this sport," Mendes said. "Especially for a first-time offender. Especially over something that's not a steroid. I don't know. It's a tough situation. There's rules, they're set in place and I think USADA is doing a great job on that. I can't be the one to break a rule and be like, ‘Oh, I want special treatment.'"

Mendes has not spoken until now, he said, because he knows fans have already come to the conclusion that he is a PED user and the entire situation has been humiliating for him and his family.

"It's embarrassing, to be honest," Mendes said. "This is another reason why I haven't talked about it. This is super embarrassing to me. I've always been the type of guy that's worked my butt off and trained hard and done things the right way. And for this to come out and now be labeled a quote-unquote juice head, it's embarrassing man."

Mendes, who is coming off a first-round knockout loss to Frankie Edgar in December, planned on taking some time off anyway, but two years is a long time. He will be 33 years old when the suspension is up in May 2018. "Money" has been one of the most accomplished 145-pounders in the world for the last five years.

For the time being, Mendes said he'll be focused on his celebrity hunting business "Finz and Featherz." But he plans on being right back in that featherweight fold when the ban is up.

"I feel like the last few years time has been flying by," Mendes said. "The two years, in my opinion, is gonna go by quick. I'm gonna get all this business up and running and set. And we can jump back in there and I'm gonna get after whoever has that title and I'm gonna work my way back up and get that belt."