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Former UFC champ Lyoto Machida suspended for 18 months by USADA

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Former UFC light heavyweight champion has been suspended for 18 months by USADA, several months after he was pulled from a fight for admitting to using 7-keto-DHEA.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Machida vs Rockhold Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The USADA punishment for former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has been issued. Machida, who had dropped down to 185 in 2013, was pulled from his mid-April UFC on FOX 19 rematch vs. Dan Henderson after admitting he used 7-keto-DHEA, a prohibited substance, has been banned for 18 months retroactive to the date of the offending out-of-competition test. That means he’ll not be eligible to return to UFC competition until October 8th, 2017.

Here’s the full statement from USADA, released on Wednesday:

“USADA announced today that UFC® athlete, Lyoto Machida, of Salvador, Brazil, has accepted an 18-month sanction for an anti-doping policy violation after declaring the use of a prohibited substance and subsequently testing positive for the use of that substance.

During an out-of-competition test conducted on April 8, 2016, Machida, 38, declared the use of a product containing 7‐keto-dehydroepiandrosterone (7‐keto‐DHEA) on his sample collection paperwork. 7‐keto‐DHEA is a prohibited substance in the class of Anabolic Agents and prohibited at all times under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, which has adopted the WADA Prohibited List. Upon notice from USADA of his potential violation, Machida immediately confirmed his use of the product, which listed 7-keto-DHEA as an ingredient, and fully cooperated with the subsequent investigation after advising USADA that he did not realize 7-keto-DHEA was a prohibited substance when he used the product.

Machida’s sample was analyzed at a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)-accredited laboratory and reported to USADA for an elevated 7β-hydroxy-DHEA to DHEA ratio, which is consistent with his declared use of a prohibited substance.

Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, as well as the World Anti-Doping Code, an athlete’s period of ineligibility for using a prohibited substance may be decreased depending on the athlete’s level of fault for the anti-doping policy violation. The UFC Anti-Doping Policy further provides that the prompt admission of an anti-doping policy violation may also be considered a mitigating factor in determining an appropriate sanction. Here, based on the circumstances of Machida’s violation, USADA determined that a reduction to 18-months from the standard two-year period of ineligibility was justified.

Machida’s 18-month period of ineligibility began on April 8, 2016, the date his positive sample was collected and he declared his use of a prohibited substance.”

At the time of his admission, an emotional Machida released a video to his fans insisting that he did not know that 7-keto-DHEA was a banned substance, even though WADA guidelines had it listed as a banned substance on their website.

Machida (22-7) hasn’t fought since Yoel Romero splattered him with elbows in June 2015. That came on the heels of Luke Rockhold choking him out that April. His last win was a body kick TKO of C.B. Dollaway in December 2014. By the time his suspension is over, “The Dragon” will be 39 years old.