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16th March 2018
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has rescinded a 12-month suspension imposed on Vietnamese fighter Cung Le, after medical evidence was provided ‘regarding the elevated total HGH present in Le’s system’. Le’s initial suspension followed tests carried out at UFC Fight Night Macao on 23 August.
‘UFC contracted with an independent drug testing laboratory in Hong Kong to perform urinalysis testing on all fighters on the card’, read a 21 October UFC statement. ‘Additionally, UFC requested the laboratory to test blood samples from four fighters for human growth hormone (HGH), erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone. One of the athletes who had his blood tested was Cung Le. The laboratory results from Le’s blood test were sent to the UFC and showed that his blood had a total HGH level outside the reference range. Based on such results, UFC officials determined that Le had violated his promotional agreement and the UFC Fighter Conduct Policy. Consequently, UFC decided that Le should be suspended from unarmed combat competition for 12 months.’
‘Following the announcement of Le’s suspension, UFC officials have been provided with medical advice regarding the elevated total HGH present in Le’s system’, continued the statement. ‘In accordance with such medical advice, UFC has determined that Le’s elevated total HGH by itself does not prove that he took performance-enhancing drugs before the August 23rd bout. As a result, UFC has informed Le that his suspension is rescinded.’
Four times world champion Le had requested an appeal of his suspension, however based on a ‘lack of conclusive laboratory results’, UFC ‘deemed it appropriate to immediately rescind the suspension without the need for further proceedings’.
Although UFC is not a World Anti-Doping Code signatory, it does carry out doping tests either through a State athletic commission in the US, through an international federation or using an independent laboratory, as was the situation in this case. ‘In those cases where regulatory oversight is unavailable, UFC voluntarily chooses to adhere to the highest level of athlete health and safety protocols similar to if the event were being held in the state of Nevada’, read its statement.
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