Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos finally has an official timeline for his return.
Dos Santos, 36, received a nine-month suspension in a unanimous vote from the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) on Wednesday stemming from a positive out-of-competition drug test for ostarine, which was administered April 16 in relation to his scheduled fight against Mounir Lazzez at UFC Vegas 51. Dos Santos will also be required to pay $444 in prosecution fees. His NAC suspension is retroactive, meaning it expired on Sept. 16.
Zaleski is currently serving a one-year suspension from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for the failed test, which he attributed to a tainted supplement.
Zaleski’s manager Tiago Okamura previously told MMA Fighting that the test resulted in “traces of ostarine under 1 ng/ml, which could indicate contamination on some supplements Elizeu had used previously,” and that his team was able to identity the supplement that led to the positive test. However, Okamura said, the Brazilian pharmacy at fault declined to admit guilt, and that ultimately left Zaleski with little recourse.
“After [discovery of] the result, USADA contacted the pharmacy, Elizeu, and the doctor who had prescribed the compound supplements,” Okamura said in a statement.
“The talks with Elizeu and the doctor went as expected, but the pharmacy denied compounding ostarine and later questioned the tested sample and even the packaging it was sent to the lab in. With the pharmacy denying the results and the fact they mixed ostarine, we came to a standstill, Elizeu’s and the doctor’s word against the pharmacy’s word. Unfortunately, there is no reason for the pharmacy to admit their mistake to USADA since they have no jurisdiction over any Brazilian pharmacy, and especially because ostarine is no longer a legal substance and its compounding has been prohibited by ANVISA (Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency).
“After almost six months of fighting to clear his name with USADA and reduce his suspension, we are now stuck. We did everything that was requested but we cannot make the pharmacy comply. Elizeu is now facing a year without competing and earning because of this contamination, and even though we might have lost the battle in the USADA system we will now move the battle to another field as someone will have to be hold responsible for this mistake and the impact it is having in Elizeu’s life and career.”
Ostarine is an anabolic agent classified as a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) and is a common offender in contaminated supplement cases, with UFC fighters Sean O’Malley, Marvin Vettori, Amanda Ribas, and more being recent examples.
Zaleski (23-7) is an eight-year UFC veteran with a 9-3 record over 12 welterweight bouts with the promotion. His best run came from 2016-19 when he compiled a seven-fight win streak highlighted by highlight-reel finishes over Sean Strickland, Omari Akhmedov, Curtis Millender, and more. He has gone 2-2 since then, rotating losses to Li Jingliang and Muslim Salikhov between wins over Alexey Kunchenko and most recently Benoit Saint-Denis.
Zaleski will be eligible to return to competition in April 2023.