Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos has been removed from a UFC 215 matchup with Francis Ngannou due to a possible anti-doping violation.
Dos Santos’ failed test stems from an out-of-competition sample collected on Aug. 10. “Cigano” was pulled from UFC 215 “due to the close proximity” of his scheduled bout with Ngannou. The UFC is currently seeking a replacement opponent for Ngannou, according to a statement.
I'm very very angry!!!— Francis NGannou (@francis_ngannou) August 18, 2017
Almost done with training camp and they just announced that my opponent is out for #ufc215
As usual, USADA will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of the dos Santos case. The 33-year-old Brazilian is entitled to a full review process before any sanctions are imposed. The substance for which dos Santos tested positive was not revealed.
Dos Santos' management issued a statement to MMAjunkie.com denying any use of performance enhancing drugs.
“We are still trying to understand the test results, so that we can investigate and determine what happened,” the statement read. “What we know as of now is that Junior Dos Santos has never taken PED’s, has never knowingly used any banned substances, and has always supported USADA’s policies and efforts to keep the sport clean. If ever there was a fighter who made his position on this issue unequivocal, it’s Junior. We are confident that that we will be able to figure out what happened, and will provide an explanation once we have one.”
Dos Santos last appeared at UFC 211, where he suffered a first-round technical knockout loss to Stipe Miocic in a heavyweight title bout. “Cigano” has alternated wins and losses in his last eight Octagon appearances.
UFC 215 takes place at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on Sept. 9 and is headlined by a flyweight title bout between Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg.