Antonio Rogerio Nogueira is the latest UFC fighter to potentially fall by the sword of USADA.
Nogueira, a 17-year veteran commonly known by his nickname “Lil Nog,” has been pulled from his scheduled Dec. 16 fight against Jared Cannonier at UFC on FOX 26 after being flagged for a potential anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition drug test administered on Sept. 27.
With Nogueira out, promotion officials are currently seeking a replacement opponent to keep Cannonier on the card. The UFC announced the news Thursday.
In a statement posted Thursday, Nogueira revealed that he tested positive for “a diuretic substance” and promised to investigate the situation while also professing his innocence. That statement can be read in full below.
Students, fans, friends, family: to all who are always by my side, I am here to share with you that today I was surprised by USADA (anti-doping control organization) that a diuretic substance appeared in my exams.
I am here to try to clarify because we do not yet have all the explanations, but from now on we will investigate this situation in depth. I have told all of you that I am confident in my defense and we will find out what happened.
I have never needed to take a diuretic and everyone who accompanies me mainly my coaches know that I never had any difficulties to lose weight and this is the function of the diuretic.
As soon as the UFC schedules my fight I will start a process of diet and training precisely so that at the end of my camp I won't suffer with weight loss.
It is very difficult going through this for me as I have always been honest and especially with my work which I have dedicated myself and continue to dedicate myself as it's my passion. Because of this unfortunately my fight was canceled and I was very sad about it all but I hope as soon as possible to clarify this misunderstanding and give you all a spectacular fight.
Thank you all for your support and respect for me.
Nogueira told MMA Fighting’s Guilherme Cruz on Thursday that the specific substance in question was Hydrochlorothiazide, the same banned substance that former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos tested positive for this past summer.
Nogueira, 41, is the twin brother of UFC Hall of Famer Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Alternatively nicknamed “Minotouro,” Nogueira has compiled a 5-5 record under the UFC umbrella since making his promotional debut in 2009, scoring notables victories over Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans, and Patrick Cummins. Of late, Nogueira has lost three of his past four fights, including a lopsided contest against Ryan Bader last November in Nogueira’s most recent UFC appearance.
Nogueira first made his name as one of the standout fighters in Pride FC, a promotion where he won his first seven fights from 2002 until 2005, beating the likes Alistair Overeem, Dan Henderson, and Guy Mezger.
Considering his age, any potential longterm suspension from USADA may very well spell the end of Nogueira’s illustrious fighting career.