Cristiane Justino’s next UFC appearance could come a lot sooner than expected.
On Friday, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency announced that “Cyborg” had been cleared of a potential anti-doping violation after testing positive for the diuretic spironolactone in an out-of-competition sample collected on Dec. 5. The reigning Invicta featherweight queen would have been facing a one-year suspension for the violation.
“Upon notice of her positive test, Justino immediately identified a medication prescribed by her physician for the treatment of a common endocrine disorder as the source of the prohibited substance detected in her sample. She also participated in multiple interviews with USADA’s investigative team and consented to USADA interviewing her physician as well,” the statement read.
“After a thorough investigation of the circumstances that preceded her positive test, which included a comprehensive review of Justino’s documented medical history, USADA accepted Justino’s explanation that her use of Spironolactone began in late September, following her bout at UFC Fight Night Brasilia, and was in accordance with her physician’s recommendation for the treatment of a legitimate medical condition. Nonetheless, because Spironolactone is prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, USADA advised Justino that her use of the medication without a valid TUE violated the UFC Anti-Doping Policy. Accordingly, Justino applied for a TUE to authorize her use of the medication, with retroactive effect.”
Justino underwent a brutal weight cut to make a 140-pound catch-weight for her bout against Lina Lansberg at UFC Fight Night 95 on Sept. 24. The Brazilian claimed to have received the treatment from her physician to help recover from the weight cut for that fight (online sportsbooks).
“In the case of Justino, the application for a TUE was granted because the athlete had an unequivocally diagnosed chronic medical condition for which the use of Spironolactone is the appropriate standard of care,” the statement read. “Further, it was determined that the athlete and her medical team pursued and exhausted all non-prohibited alternatives and that the low dose of the medication is consistent with best medical practice to treat her condition and would return the athlete to a normal state of health without providing a performance-enhancing benefit.
“Because Justino’s TUE application was granted retroactively, her provisional suspension has been lifted with immediate effect and her positive test will not result in an anti-doping policy violation. However, as a condition of the TUE approval, Justino will be required to continue to carefully document her medical care and must apply for a TUE renewal in advance of TUE expiry should she wish to maintain compliance with the UFC Anti-Doping Policy.”
Now that “Cyborg” is free to return to the Octagon, it could clear the way for a future showdown with recently crowned featherweight queen Germaine de Randamie. UFC President Dana White said that the promotion offered Justino two title fights in the newly created division in early 2017, but the Brazilian turned them down, claiming she needed 12 weeks to make the featherweight limit. Instead, de Randamie claimed the 145-pound belt with a controversial five-round decision over Holly Holm at UFC 208.