5 of the most controversial suspensions in UFC history
The UFC's recent history has been plagued by a number of high-profile suspensions involving prominent fighters. While some of them were a result of delinquent behaviours outside of the Octagon, all of them are rooted to one cause: drug-test failures.
With the stringent procedures imposed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency upon the 500 fighters in the UFC roster, the percentage of failures have skyrocketed dramatically. In this list, we look at five of the most controversial suspensions in the UFC that have been a major game-changer for the fighters involved.
#5 Lyoto Machida
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has built himself a reputation for being a clean fighter all throughout his career. "The Dragon" lives by the Shotokan Karate teachings of his father to this day and has avoided the rockstar lifestyle that many of his famous contemporaries have embodied.
With that said, it was a strange surprise to see Machida flagged by USADA for a potential violation in 2016, when he was found to have 7‐keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (7‐keto‐DHEA) in his system, an anabolic agent that is on USADA's banned list. Machida was subsequently suspended for 18 months.
What makes this suspension a lot controversial was that (1) Machida himself declared that he was using the substance to immediately dispel talks about him cheating and (2) 7-keto does not have the capability to increase testosterone or enhance a fighter's performance in any way, which is why it can be purchased over the counter.
Unfortunately, Machida, who was 37 years of age at the time, had to go through the suspension and miss a year and a half of what's left of his fighting years. Upon his return, he was knocked out by Derek Brunson and eked out a split decision win over Eryk Anders, and it would not be surprising if these lacklustre performances were a result of his unnecessary suspension.