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Lyoto Machida believes lengthy USADA suspension was ‘extremely unfair’

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Lyoto Machida admits that he made a mistake, but he also believes that USADA isn’t doing enough for fighters.

UFC Fight Night: Machida vs Rockhold Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Lyoto Machida is an extremely unhappy fighter. The 38-year-old former champion was recently suspended by USADA for 18 months due to popping for 7-Keto-DHEA, which be didn’t believe to be a banned substance. Despite admitting to using it, he was still handed a very harsh sentence.

As a guest on The MMA Hour, Machida vented about USADA’s methods and level of education for fighters (transcribed by MMA Mania):

"First of all, I want to say that I am very disappointed in USADA. I think this is all extremely unfair. I take the blame for 7-Keto. It wasn’t a banned substance since I bought it over the counter in a supplement store when it stated on it’s label 60 vegetarian capsules. For me, USADA didn’t give us proper instructions and I think they failed in educating us about everything. To be honest, they only sent me a list of banned supplements after my suspension, two days later. But before, when it was supposed to be, it didn’t happen. When UFC brought USADA in, I thought it was to instruct and educate all the fighters. Instead they came in to punish in an unreasonable fashion. So they came to the academy and I explained everything and disclosed everything during the test. I didn't know it was banned substance. Unfortunately, they didn’t see my honesty."

7-Keto-DHEA is on the WADA list of banned substances due to its use as a weight-cutting tool. Machida explained why he was actually taking the substance - for stress relief:

"I came from two losses in a row. It was very hard training at that moment and (I was) so stressed. I used that for stress relief. I didn’t know that. My intention was in a good way. How could I take this supplement to the fight if I know it was banned? How? Somebody on a good conscience didn't do that at all. I took the supplement. I have two witness when I took it in my room and I knew that I would get blood tested anytime. I took them because I didn’t know. So, I take the blame, made mistake. Okay, I get it. But I think it was extremely unfair to punish me like that."

Machida won’t be eligible to return to the Octagon until late 2017 due to his suspension being retroactive to April, when the test was taken.