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Cris Cyborg attempting to get retroactive exemption in USADA case

Cris Cyborg is hoping to get a TUE for the banned diuretic she was taking.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Could Cris Cyborg be back in the Octagon sooner than many thought?

Cyborg’s attorney Howard Jacobs confirmed to MMA Fighting on Friday that she is in the process of applying for a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for the banned diuretic she tested positive for in December. ESPN was the first to report on the matter Friday.

Jacobs told MMA Fighting that Cyborg’s team just submitted “additional information that had been requested” by USADA’s TUE committee. He said that fact that they asked for more information is a good thing for Cyborg’s case.

“I think it is a positive sign,” Jacobs said.

UFC president Dana White, too, believes Cyborg’s situation with USADA is in a good place. He told ESPN that it’s “looking really good now” and believes that Cyborg will face the winner of the inaugural women’s featherweight title fight between Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie in the main event of UFC 208 on Saturday night in Brooklyn.

“The three things that she has is what this medicine is used for,” White told Brett Okamoto. “It’s looking really good. It was looking bad for a minute, but now it’s looking better.”

Cyborg (17-1, 1 NC), who was the reason why the UFC created the women’s 145-pound belt, failed a drug test for the banned diuretic spironolactone stemming from a sample taken by USADA on Dec. 5. She is facing a one-year suspension by the UFC’s anti-doping partner, but if she gets the TUE, she will not face any sanction.

In a Facebook post from December, that has since been deleted, Cyborg said she was given the drug by a doctor to treat complications from her last weight cut in September. Cyborg was fighting at 140 pounds for the UFC, a steep cut from her walking weight of 170 pounds or more.

“You can feel confident that the substance they are inquiring about is not for performance enhancing use, and is needed for my specific treatments,” Cyborg said in the statement.

Diuretics can be used to rapidly cut water weight and also mask the use of performance-enhancing drugs, which is why some are banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Code. Spironolactone can be used to treat heart, liver and kidney issues, as well as high blood pressure and low potassium.

Cyborg tested positive for an anabolic steroid and had her Strikeforce title stripped in 2011.

The UFC’s anti-doping policy states that any athlete “intending to use a Prohibited Substance or Prohibited Method must seek a TUE from USADA or its designee pursuant to the TUE Policy developed by UFC.”

The UFC’s TUE policy says an athlete applying for a TUE after the fact “does so at his or her own risk.” The full language is below:

USADA will consider late filed or applications for retroactive TUEs; however, the Athlete does so at his or her own risk as USADA makes no guarantee regarding the processing of a TUE under such circumstances. Furthermore, in such instances, the Athlete may be charged up to the full cost for processing the TUE application where such filing, in the determination of USADA, is not attributed to factors outside the Athlete’s control.

Cyborg, 31, is the most dominant female fighter in the world and the current Invicta FC women’s featherweight champion. The Brazilian is coming off a second-round TKO win over Lina Lansberg in September. She is 2-0 in the UFC and has not lost a fight since 2005, her pro debut.

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