USADA Suspends UFC Heavyweight Raphael Pessoa 1 Year for Failed Drug Test

By Tristen Critchfield Nov 23, 2020


UFC heavyweight Raphael Pessoa has accepted a one-year suspension for an anti-doping violation, USADA announced Monday.

Pessoa tested positive for hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ) and its metabolites chlorothiazide and 4-amino-6-chloro-1,3-benzenedisulfonamide (ACB) in an out-of-competition sample collected on March 4. HCTZ is a diuretic, which can dilute urine and disguise the presence of other banned substances in a drug test.

According to the statement, the results of Pessoa’s test were delayed by laboratory closures forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. That allowed Pessoa to compete at UFC on ESPN 14 on July 25, where he suffered a second-round technical knockout loss to Tanner Boser. Normally Pessoa would have been pulled from that bout ahead of time upon testing positive for a banned substance.

Pessoa’s suspension is retroactive to the date of the sample collection, meaning that he will be eligible to compete again on March 4, 2021.

A 31-year-old native of Rio de Janeiro, Pessoa is 1-2 during his tenure with the Las Vegas-based promotion. After suffering a submission loss to Ciryl Gane in his Octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 156, “Bebezao” rebounded to outpoint Jeff Hughes at UFC Fight Night 162. Pessoa began his professional career with nine straight triumphs.

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