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Francisco Rivera suspects tainted Mexican meat responsible for failed drug test

UFC bantamweight Francisco Rivera recently failed an out-of-competition drug test and suspects that tainted meat was responsible.

UFC 181 - Faber v Rivera Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Yesterday, the UFC announced that Francisco Rivera had been notified of a potential anti-doping violation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) for a failed out-of-competition drug test stemming from July 23.

"The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Francisco Rivera of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on July 23, 2016.

"USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case. It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full fair legal review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward,” the statement read.

Since the UFC’s collaboration with USADA last year, a significant number of fighters have been suspended for using performance-enhancing drugs. Rivera, however, who competes in the UFC bantamweight division, says his case is different.

According to, Rivera believes there’s a strong argument to be made that he ate tainted meat in Mexico. The 34-year-old was on vacation in Mexico ahead of his fight with Erik Perez at UFC 201 and claims to have tested positive for clenbuterol, a Beta 2 Sympathomimetic amine that is used to treat breathing disorders such as asthma.

The World Anti-Doping Agency released a statement in 2011 that advised athletes to be aware of the dangers surrounding meat in Mexico and China. WADA states that both countries have a ‘serious problem’ with contaminated meat containing clenbuterol.

Chinese UFC bantamweight Ning Guangyou tested positive for the substance last week, but USADA decided not to suspend the 34-year-old due to his location and dietary habits. It’s expected that Rivera will present a similar argument to the anti-doping agency to avoid punishment.

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