While Lyoto Machida may have accepted the 18-month suspension he received from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, that doesn’t mean he agrees with the punishment.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion released a statement via Facebook on Friday expressing disappointment with the length of the suspension he received after testing positive for the banned substance 7‐keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (7‐keto‐DHEA) in an out-of-competition sample collected on April 8. Machida declared the use of the substance on his sample collection paperwork, which he hoped would have resulted in some leniency.
“I received a suspension from USADA with my head held up high, even though I don't agree with it,” Machida wrote. “I reiterate that I never had any problem in all my career and always collaborated with USADA. I hoped that the fact that I spontaneously declared which substance I ingested would be taken into consideration. I have always been an honest and transparent person, something that I learned since a young age from my father Yoshizo.”
“The Dragon” also took issue with the clarity of USADA’s banned list while claiming that 7-Keto-DHEA has no performance-enhancing qualities. 7-Keto-DHEA is listed as an “anabolic agent” according to WADA code but is more commonly associated with boosting metabolism and weight loss.
“The supplement I took, 7-Keto, can be sold anywhere, which [reinforces] the fact that it’s not used for performance enhancement. As I said before, I took it to lower stress levels, as I was coming off two losses and had not fought in some time. By no means did I imagine that the substance could be banned by USADA. The information relayed to the athletes were insufficient,” he wrote. “The full list of all prohibited supplements, in an easier way to read, I only received via text message, this week, on the day after my suspension. The previous formats were not clear. To teach and educate should also be the duties of an institution that is committed to the advancement of a clean sport and not only for punishing.
“Unfortunately USADA did not see my honesty, which was always my priority. I believe that if I had been tried by the athletic commission I would have been heard and would have had a different outcome.”
Machida’s suspension is retroactive to April 8, which means he will be able to return to the UFC in October 2017. He was supposed to face Dan Henderson at UFC on Fox 19, but the positive test resulted in the cancellation of that bout.
The 38-year-old Brazilian has lost three of his last four fights. He last competed at UFC Fight Night in June 2015, losing to Yoel Romero via third-round TKO. He moved from light heavyweight to middleweight late in 2013.
For now, Machida plans to focus on the gym he recently opened in California, but he also plans to continue training so he can be ready to return to the UFC when his suspension concludes.
“So, I keep on training, because training is my life and I will not interrupt my training at any time,” Machida wrote. “I thank my fans for the support and reiterate my desire to return to the Octagon.”