UFC heavyweight Raphael Pessoa has accepted a one year sanction handed down by the United States Anti-Doping Agency after failing an out-of-competition drug test earlier this year.
According to USADA officials in a statement released on Monday, the Brazilian tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and its metabolites chlorothiazide and 4-amino-6-chloro-1,3-benzenedisulfonamide (ACB). Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic, which increases urine production and can dilute doping agents typically found in a drug test.
The out-of-competition drug test was collected on March 4 but due to lab delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, results were not returned in a timely fashion. Due to the delays, Pessoa’s results were not back prior to a fight he had scheduled in July where he suffered a second-round TKO loss to Tanner Boser.
According to Pessoa, he took a medication prescribed to him by a physician to treat chronic rhinitis but did not disclose that he was a fighter with restrictions on what he was allowed to take.
“I fell ill (in March) and went to a hospital but didn’t inform them I was a UFC fighter,” Pessoa told MMA Fighting. “The doctor prescribed me a medication and I took it, and now that was announced. But it’s ok, the suspension is almost over. I’ll be more alert about the medication they prescribe me now.”
Pessoa’s one-year suspension was made retroactive to the date of his drug test on March 4.
That means the heavyweight will be eligible to return to action after March 4, 2021.