UFC flyweight Ali Bagautinov tested positive for EPO prior to UFC 174, suspended for one year

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

Recent UFC flyweight title challenger Ali Bagautinov has been suspended for a year after he failed his UFC 174 pre-fight drug test, becoming the latest fighter to test positive for EPO.

Big news coming in today from the British Columbia Athletic Commission, who oversaw UFC 174 in Vancouver last month. Flyweight contender Ali Bagautinov, who fought in the night's main event and lost to champion Demetrious Johnson, tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) prior to fight night. The BCAC tested Bagautinov and seven other fighters using WADA standards in addition to their own anti-doping rules. Here are some snippets from the official press release:

"There were eight UFC 174 competitors tested on June 14, 2014, for the presence of banned
substances, including the two flyweight title fighters and six random competitors. All
competitors’ test results complied with World Anti-Doping Agency Standards subscribed to by
the BC athletic commissioner, as well as our anti-doping policies.

"In addition to the June 14 tests, Mr. Ali Bagautinov – one of the two flyweight title fighters –
was tested out of competition on June 2, 2014.

"Results received by this office from the June 2 tests on Mr. Bagautinov were positive for
erythropoietin, or EPO – a substance banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency. These results
were not available prior to the UFC 174 event due to lab processing times.

"I have suspended Mr. Bagautinov’s licence to compete in British Columbia for a period of one year."

Bold emphasis is mine, just for full clarification as to why Bagautinov was still allowed to compete on the card.

EPO was in the MMA news as recently as a couple of weeks ago when Chael Sonnen tested positive for both that banned substance and HGH. Brent Brookhouse explained one of the major benefits to EPO usage in the Sonnen post:

EPO allows your blood to carry more oxygen which significantly increases stamina (one of the key drugs involved with the Lance Armstrong scandal)

This is obviously a major story and even bigger when you factor in reports that Bagautinov was banned from the International Sambo Federation after a 2012 drug test flagged him for use of the performance-enhancing substance Methylhexaneamine. Bagautinov later denied the report, a story that was coincidentally published on the same day that he'd submitted his drug test to the BC AC.

Bloody Elbow will provide more updates on this developing story as they become available.

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