Brazilian lightweight Thiago Tavares has been suspended nine months after testing positive for steroids following the UFC’s Jan. 19 event in Sao Paulo, the organization announced Wednesday.
Tavares, who lost by TKO to Khabib Nurmagomedov at the UFC on FX 7 show, tested positive for Drostanolone, an anabolic steroid and banned substance. The sanction was handed down by the newly-created Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission. In previous events, the UFC handled drug testing since there was no sanctioning in place in Brazil.
The nine-month ban is retroactive to Jan. 19, and Tavares will need to pass a drug test following the suspension before receiving clearance to compete again with the promotion.
All 22 fighters who competed on the card went through drug screenings and Tavares was the only fighter to test positive.
In the weeks following the event there had been reports that one Brazilian fighter had failed a drug test, leading to rumours that Vitor Belfort, who knocked out Michael Bisping in the main event, had tested positive for a banned substance. The UFC release a statement earlier quashing those rumours.
“To dispel rumours that have been circulated, Zuffa wishes to clarify that Vitor Belfort’s drug test results were negative and did not indicate the presence of any performance enhancing drugs,” a UFC statement read.
“Belfort has been on a medically approved testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) regimen under the supervision of a medical doctor from the State of Nevada, after being diagnosed with hypogonadism, or low testosterone. The purpose of a medically administered TRT regimen is to allow patients with hypogonadism to maintain testosterone levels within a range that is normal for an adult male.”
Tavares (17-5-1) has been in the UFC since 2007 and had never been suspended prior to this incident.